Using Behavioral Science to Improve Federal Outcomes (Part IV)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently analyzed its antipsychotic drug prescription data for elderly patients and found some doctors were over prescribing these potent and costly drugs. It sent letters to high volume prescribers, telling them that their prescriptions were extremely high in comparison to other doctors in their state. Without taking any other action, CMS found that merely sending the comparison letters reduced prescriptions by 11 percent – thereby saving money and increasing patient safety.

How Is Behavioral Science Influencing Public Administration? (Part III)

Shortly before the massive downpour in the DC area a few days ago, my smartphone and iPad were pinging me with severe weather alert warnings. Were these just false alarms or should I really pay attention? I paid attention and – fortunately – sat tight and didn’t go out into the maelstrom.  But why did I decide to pay attention?  What made the difference?

Weekly Roundup: July 8-12, 2019

The Clock Starts. NextGov reports: “As agencies push to meet multiple mandates to better use all the data they collect, the Office of Management and Budget offered some assistance Thursday with the release of guidance on implementing the first phase of the Evidence Act. . . .

Highlights of OMB’s Implementation Guidance for Evidence Act

The recently released, highly touted Federal Data Strategy Action Plan turns out to be a key building block for the newly-released implementation guidance for the Evidence Act. That the Federal Data Strategy is but a single (albeit important) building block within this guidance shows how the Office of Management and Budget is sending a message to agencies that it is out to fundamentally change how the government will operate in the future.

What Are Some Basic Behavioral Science Concepts? (Part II)

“Applying behavioral insights in the right context can lead to substantial improvements in program outcomes,” writes behavioral scientist Amira Choueiki Boland in a 2016 Public Administration Review article.

But just what are these insights -- derived from the academic field of behavioral science -- that can be applied in government?  It is hard to explain the field, in part because of its complexity, and in part because it wraps itself into a technical language that takes some decoding.

Weekly Roundup: June 24-28, 2019

John Kamensky

People First. NextGov reports: “To combat the growing skills gap metastasizing across the federal government, agency leaders should incorporate human capital strategies into their long-term strategic plans, Chris Mihm, the Government Accountability Office’s managing director for intergovernmental relations and strategic issues said in Washington Tuesday.”

How Can Behavioral Science Improve Program Outcomes? (Part I)

For years, government policymakers encouraged workers to increase their investments in tax-free retirement savings.  But they were baffled by how many workers were leaving “free money” on the table by not signing up to participate in employer-matched 401K pension plans. However, when some companies changed their enrollment process from having workers “opting in” to the program vs. automatically enrolling them (and allowing them to opt out), enrollment rates increased by 50 percent.

Weekly Roundup: June 17-21 2019

John Kamensky

Joint Governance – At Last!  Federal News Network reports: “The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs said they’ve finally settled on a joint management structure to make sure the multibillion-dollar electronic health record systems they’re buying are integrated and interoperable.”

Weekly Roundup: June 3-7 2019

John Kamensky

Data Strategy – At Last! FCW reports: “The Trump administration on June 4 released a draft of the "Year-1 Action Plan" for implementing the federal data strategy. The plan outlines 16 steps -- some agency-specific, others governmentwide -- to "establish a firm basis of tools, processes, and capacities to leverage data as a strategic asset."

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Senior Fellow
IBM Center for The Business of Government
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Mr. Kamensky is a Senior Fellow with the IBM Center for The Business of Government and an Associate Partner with IBM's Global Business Services.

During 24 years of public service, he had a significant role in helping pioneer the federal government's performance and results orientation. Mr. Kamensky is passionate about helping transform government to be more results-oriented, performance-based, customer-driven, and collaborative in nature.

Prior to joining the IBM Center, he served for eight years as deputy director of Vice President Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government. Before that, he worked at the Government Accountability Office where he played a key role in the development and passage of the Government Performance and Results Act.

Since joining the IBM Center, he has co-edited six books and writes and speaks extensively on performance management and government reform.  Current areas of emphasis include transparency, collaboration, and citizen engagement.  He also blogs about management challenges in government.

Mr. Kamensky is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and received a Masters in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, in Austin, Texas. He can be reached at: john.kamensky@us.ibm.com

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