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People often make poor health-care decisions. Would they make better decisions if the choices were presented in a different way?
That’s the idea behind so-called choice architecture, or presenting options in a way that subtly encourages people toward a desired decision. Based on psychology and behavioral economics, it aims to encourage people to make better choices without openly limiting their options.
Often referred to as a “nudge,” choice architecture is widely used in personal finance. To encourage people to invest in 401(k)s, for example, many employers automatically deduct contributions from paychecks unless a worker specifies otherwise.
Now, health-care providers and payers increasingly are incorporating principles of choice architecture in their dealings with patients and doctors, with the aim of cutting costs while preserving patient autonomy.