Whether attending screening appointments, taking medication correctly, quitting smoking, or increasing physical activity, there are many situations where changing behaviour is important for health. However, it is often not clear how best to help people make healthy changes. In the case of tobacco or alcohol consumption, there is good evidence that financial disincentives, such as increasing sales taxes, do deter these harmful behaviours. But these approaches are not suitable in many situations. There is increasing interest in the use of financial incentives, such as small cash rewards, to promote particular desirable behaviours.
Evidence to date about the effectiveness of financial incentives is mixed. The NIHR has funded a range of studies exploring the use of incentives in different circumstances, and how people feel about them. This Highlight explores this evidence and considers how incentives can be helpful in healthcare, for who and in what circumstances.
A quick look at the key messages which come through from the research in this area.
How financial incentives work and what we already know about their effectiveness.
Find out more about the NIHR-funded, supported and wider studies featured in this highlight.