Erez Yoeli, MIT's Sloan School of Management

Mobile Self-verification and Support for Successful Tuberculosis Treatment

Successful Tuberculosis (TB) treatment is critical for reducing transmission and lowering treatment costs. Mobile health interventions incorporating behavioral insights promise to increase treatment success, but have largely fallen short of expectations. We developed a costeffective mobile health intervention involving daily self-verification of medication adherence alongside support and motivation, based on proven behavioral insights. We tested whether it improved treatment outcomes in a randomized control trial involving 1189 TB patients in Nairobi, Kenya. Our intervention led to an estimated 7.8% increase in successful treatment. The intervention increased treatment success more for individuals predisposed to treatment failure as estimated by a model fit to the control group (e.g., slum dwellers, the unemployed). We detail the key behavioral insights employed and their adaptation to the particulars of this setting.

Erez Yoeli is a research associate at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, where he directs the Applied Cooperation Team (ACT). His research focuses on altruism: understanding how it works and how to promote it. He collaborates with governments, nonprofits, and companies to apply the lessons of this research towards addressing real-world challenges like increasing energy conservation, improving antibiotic adherence, reducing smoking in public places, and promoting philanthropy.

See Erez’s 1 million views TED Talk on how to motivate people to do good here: