Incentive-based Program Increased Carrying of Epinephrine in Food-allergic Adults

A new study used an incentivization program to encourage food-allergic adults to carry epinephrine injectors. The program showed that when given the chance to earn financial incentives for doing so, those adults were more likely to carry epinephrine.

A mixed-method randomized controlled trial with 33 adults with food allergies (aged 18 to 30) was conducted by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The team wanted to research both how incentives would affect the carrying of epinephrine among young adults as well as the effectiveness of reminders and health messages for the same.

Participants received 40 text messages over the span of 49 days last year. 20 of those messages contained informational support (tips, safety information, etc), 10 were asking open-ended questions to prompt reflection, and 10 that required them to send a photo of their epinephrine within 30 minutes of receipt of the text. One group received just the messages. The other also received financial incentives for compliance with the text alerts.

The research showed that those who received incentives were twice as likely to have epinephrine when asked.

The researchers found that the group that was paid an extra $10 per successful check-in was far more likely to return a successful check-in with a photo of their epinephrine. They did so about 54 percent of the time. Those who were not paid for the check-in were about 27 percent likely to have their epinephrine with them.

The researchers caution that the most telling result was how often adults with food-allergies were leaving their epinephrine behind, even when promised payment for having it with them.


Photo by nist6dh

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