Financial incentives to promote colorectal cancer screening: A longitudinal randomized control trial

Alicea Lieberman, Ayelet Gneezy, Emily Berry, Stacie Miller, Mark Koch, Chul Ahn, Bijal A. Balasubramanian, Keith E. Argenbright, Samir Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Financial incentives may improve health behaviors. We tested the impact of offering financial incentives for mailed fecal immunochemical test (FIT) completion annually for 3 years. Methods: Patients, ages 50 to 64 years, not up-to-date with screening were randomized to receive either a mailed FIT outreach (n ¼ 6,565), outreach plus $5 (n ¼ 1,000), or $10 (n ¼ 1,000) incentive for completion. Patients who completed the test were reinvited using the same incentive the following year, for 3 years. In year 4, patients who returned the kit in all preceding 3 years were reinvited without incentives. Primary outcome was FIT completion among patients offered any incentive versus outreach alone each year. Secondary outcomes were FIT completion for groups offered $5 versus outreach alone, $10 versus outreach alone, and $5 versus $10. Results: Year 1 FIT completion was 36.9% with incentives versus 36.2% outreach alone (P ¼ 0.59) and was not statistically different for $10 (34.6%; P ¼ 0.31) or $5 (39.2%; P ¼ 0.070) versus outreach alone. Year 2 completion was 61.6% with incentives versus 60.8% outreach alone (P ¼ 0.75) and not statistically different for $10 or $5 versus outreach alone. Year 3 completion was 79.4% with incentives versus 74.8% outreach alone (P ¼ 0.080), and was higher for $10 (82.4%) versus outreach alone (P ¼ 0.033), but not for $5 versus outreach alone. Completion was similar across conditions in year 4 (no incentives). Conclusions: Offering small incentives did not increase FIT completion relative to standard outreach. Impact: This was the first longitudinal study testing the impact of repeated financial incentives, and their withdrawal, on FIT completion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1902-1908
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


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