Why Not Nudge?

  • Nudging is a concept in which one who is making a decision about something creates an environment or circumstances where another person is inclined to make decisions tilting towards a certain way.
  • We can apply the concept of "nudging" to the healthcare sector in India. What if the workers at primary health centers are nudged or tilted towards working in a certain way.
  • Nudging is a very perceptive concept and can vary from person to person, but if properly applied it will increase the chance of getting better service delivery.

Why not nudge?

While listening to an eminent speaker, I found about the nudge concept. An intriguing one and yet so subtle if one thinks about it.

Nudging is a concept in which one who is making a decision about something is given an environment or circumstances where he is inclined to make decisions tilting towards a certain way. This when looked from the outside seems to be as easy as a daily life thing, like your mother giving incentives to drink milk or a kid is told to brush his teeth so that he will have his favorite breakfast in the morning. But what if we apply the same in a bigger and more important circumstances.

We already have seen the working of nudge concept in U.S.A and other countries, but in this paper, I would like to give my insights about applying this to the healthcare scenario in India.

Indian healthcare scenario run on two pillars private and public healthcare service providence. Starting from the very primary services provided at P.H.Cs, then going on to C.H.Cs can we apply nudging? If not in a broader concept but at the very basic level.

For e.g. what if the workers at primary health centers are nudged or tilted towards working in a certain way. Everyday they come to work, but is the punctuality maintained? Are the working conditions, ethics and even the procedures maintained to a certain desired level? The answer is no. We are all known to the fact that Indian healthcare scenario is full of grey areas where the required working principles are not maintained. We have seen cases like the one where death of infants occurred due to unavailability of oxygen.

But there are health care units which work with utmost sincerity and produce optimum results.

We have seen the case of Aravind eye care which provides the best eye care with minimum cost. What did they do which others were not able to? The case study suggested that they provide training and have a very specific recruitment process. Isn’t this scenario suggestive of nudging? They have provided a specific environment in which the people who are there are tilted to make a decision to perform in a specific way. They are trained for two years a subtle sense of nudging.

What if we apply this to in social science or public health. Instead of putting all our focus on awareness why not put certain environment in place where efforts are tilted towards making a decision of choosing the facility services provided to them and for their benefit. For instance, if we put a mother who have just visited the service units for complete schedule and delivered a healthy child to be the spoke person. Why not have a couple of those women who have gone for services and got good results to influence the community. This can be a better option and more cost friendly for any program. This might require training on certain aspects and that would be deemed important for desired results.

We have ample of data to prove that community participation had given magnified results for various projects. Why not put that experience and go for the same practice in different circumstances.

Nudging is a very perceptive concept and can vary from person to person. But if properly applied as per to my knowledge will increase the chance of getting better service delivery and other outcomes. Don’t take this concept that one has to make all the choices for the other person and then only better results will come, nudging can be done and as per what I have experienced, will give better results. Why not to provide and give environment to the working professionals where they are molded in a way where they perform in the way they should? There are organizations already working on this concept and I would suggest that the healthcare delivery in India should also go along with this certain precaution. To provide better and efficient and effective car, why not nudge?

Kartikeya Sharma

Kartikeya Sharma

All I have been able to see is whilst standing on the shoulders of giants.


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