2019 Annual Report: Motivating Behavior Change

Offering well-designed incentives to study participants can improve study recruitment and retention, as well as the health of individuals and communities, say the co-directors of the DCRI’s new Behavioral Research Intervention Science Center (BRISC).

Pediatrician Charlene Wong, MD, MSHP, (pictured left) and urologist Chuck Scales, MD, MSHS, (pictured right) teamed up to found and lead BRISC, which advances the science of applying behavioral incentives in clinical research. Through various financial, social, and informational incentives built into studies, BRISC is helping its researchers encourage behavior change in study participants.

In one ongoing study, Wong and Scales are using real-world data from the Duke Health System to generate monthly reports on individual providers’ opioid-prescribing patterns. The investigators expect that the reports will be a social incentive by enabling providers to compare their prescribing behaviors with those of their peers. The study team will compare baseline prescribing behaviors with behaviors six months after providers begin receiving the reports. BRISC is also engaging the community and other experts both across Duke and beyond. It recently held a colloquium that convened thought leaders in behavioral economics and health care.

“The colloquium was an inspiring and successful first event for BRISC,” Wong said. “I believe I speak for many of the attendees when I say that I am now encouraged that we will be able to break down silos and continue to work together to conduct more high-impact work, achieving behavior change and more efficient clinical research that will help people become healthier.”


This article originally appeared in the DCRI's 2018-2019 Annual Report. View more articles from this publication.

Charlene Wong, MD, MSHP, and Chuck Scales, MD, co-directors of the Behavioral Research Intervention Science Center, discuss how different types of incentives can be used within clinical research to encourage behavior change in participants and providers.

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BRISC Webpage