Financial incentives for home-based health monitoring: A randomized controlled trial

Aditi P. Sen, Taylor B. Sewell, E. Brooks Riley, Beth Stearman, Scarlett L. Bellamy, Michelle F. Hu, Yuanyuan Tao, Jingsan Zhu, James D. Park, George Loewenstein, David A. Asch, Kevin G. Volpp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Home wireless device monitoring could play an important role in improving the health of patients with poorly controlled chronic diseases, but daily engagement rates among these patients may be low. OBJECTIVE: To test the effectiveness of two different magnitudes of financial incentives for improving adherence to remote-monitoring regimens among patients with poorly controlled diabetes. DESIGN: Randomized, controlled trial. ( Identifier: NCT01282957). PARTICIPANTS: Seventy-five patients with a hemoglobin A1c greater than or equal to 7.5 % recruited from a Primary Care Medical Home practice at the University of Pennsylvania Health System. INTERVENTIONS: Twelve weeks of daily home-monitoring of blood glucose, blood pressure, and weight (control group; n=28); a lottery incentive with expected daily value of $2.80 (n=26) for daily monitoring; and a lottery incentive with expected daily value of $1.40 (n=21) for daily monitoring. MAIN MEASURES: Daily use of three home-monitoring devices during the three-month intervention (primary outcome) and during the three-month follow-up period and change in A1c over the intervention period (secondary outcomes). KEY RESULTS: Incentive arm participants used devices on a higher proportion of days relative to control (81 % low incentive vs. 58 %, P=0.007; 77 % high incentive vs. 58 %, P=0.02) during the three-month intervention period. There was no difference in adherence between the two incentive arms (P=0.58). When incentives were removed, adherence in the high incentive arm declined while remaining relatively high in the low incentive arm. In month 6, the low incentive arm had an adherence rate of 62 % compared to 35 % in the high incentive arm (P=0.015) and 27 % in the control group (P=0.002). CONCLUSIONS: A daily lottery incentive worth $1.40 per day improved monitoring rates relative to control and had significantly better efficacy once incentives were removed than a higher incentive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)770-777
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • adherence
  • chronic disease
  • disease management
  • health behavior
  • health information technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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