Implementation and Evaluation of Two Nudges in a Hospital’s Electronic Prescribing System to Optimise Cost-Effective Prescribing

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Healthcare (Switzerland)


Providing healthcare workers with cost information about the medications they prescribe can influence their decisions. The current study aimed to analyse the impact of two nudges that presented cost information to prescribers through a hospital’s electronic prescribing system. The nudges were co-created by the research team: four behavioural scientists and the lead hospital phar-macist. The nudges were rolled out sequentially. The first nudge provided simple cost information (percentage cost-difference between two brands of mesalazine: Asacol® and Octasa®). The second nudge provided information about the potential annual cost savings if the cheaper medication were selected across the National Health Service. Neither nudge influenced prescribing. Prescribing of Asacol® and Octasa® at baseline and during the implementation of the first nudge did not differ (at p ≥ 0.05), nor was there a difference between the first nudge and second (at p ≥ 0.05). Although these nudges were not effective, notable administrative barriers were overcome, which may inform future research. For example, although for legal reasons the cost of medicine cannot be displayed, we were able to present aggregated cost information to the prescribers. Future research could reveal more behavioural factors that facilitate medication optimisation.



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