Design, psychology, and behavior change

In order to change behavior you need to put triggers in the path of motivated people. According to BJ Fogg, the head of Stanford's Persuasive Technology Lab, you just need to remind people of their goals and make it easy for them to act.



No Penalties

But what about those that lack motivation? Specifically, what if there is little physical or financial cost to not changing? In The Innovator's Prescription, Clayton Christensen provides a framework for illustrating this dynamic. Consider back pain. If you stop taking your meds, your back hurts. When you take your meds, the pain goes away. For many chronic diseases, the consequences of nonadherence are deferred.


source: Clayton Christensen, The Innovator's Prescription


I'll Start Tomorrow

The bottom right quadrant is where a bulk of our health care costs originate. It is also where change is most difficult to effect. The status quo is often pleasant. Much of the food that makes us obese tastes good. For many, cigarettes are relaxing. Sedentary time in front of the TV can be a means of decompressing. So why give all of that up for the uncertain prospect of longevity? Breaking from inertia's grip is difficult. The internal dialog often is "I feel fine today. I'll worry about getting healthy tomorrow."


Designing Patient Engagement Programs for Behavior Change 

In a series of posts, we tackle the behavior change issue: 

Why it's so hard to make good decisions

What health systems can learn from Weight Watchers

How to spark intrinsic motivation (coming soon)

The game mechanics of patient engagement (coming soon)

Simplicity and UX design in healthcare (coming soon)