Healthcare Behavior Change

Posted on November 13, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what really changes someone’s behavior. Since this is a health care blog I’m obviously thinking about it in the context of how you can get someone to change the behaviors that are impacting someone’s health. Certainly there’s a wide range of things that motivate people and there’s likely no “miracle drug” that changes everyone’s behavior (or more rightly said motivates someone to change their behavior), but most of us change our behaviors throughout our lives. What really gets us to change?

Yes, this is one of my posts where I’d love to hear from readers. I’d love specific examples. Anecdotal examples are welcome as well. I’m also interested if it usually takes a mix of factors and not just one factor. Obviously, going to the doctor and seeing the lab results that says you’re a diabetic would change your behavior. I’ve also heard a lot about social pressures and using peer pressure to motivate positive changes. Are there other examples that really work to change people’s behavior?

I guess at the core of my thinking is that in order to improve health care, we need to find out how to motivate people to change. We’ve all seen the stats that say that our behaviors are what cost healthcare the most. So, what really motivates people to change? Do you know of research around this? Do you have your own stories and experiences? How about doctors with your patients? What have you seen that helps your patients change and live more healthy lives?

It might be interesting to start with some of the major health care problems like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc (I know I’m leaving some out). I guess I think the first step to solving our healthcare problems is to figure out how to motivate people to change. If we can do that, then maybe we’ll make a dent in our health care costs.

Of course, once we’ve motivated people to change, then we have to consider which options/services/apps/etc can actually help a person achieve the change and keep it. That’s not easy either. However, I think there are a ton of these services out there. We just don’t get people motivated enough to actually use the services. Or many people don’t know about these services and so they never actually use them.

I hope you’ll share your thoughts on this subject in the comments.