Decision Science Digest: November 30, 2023

BALTIMORE, MD, November 30, 2023 –

EDITOR’S NOTE: Decision Science Digest is a periodic communique highlighting recent peer-reviewed research published by INFORMS, the largest association for the decision and data sciences, across its 17 journals. This issue highlights four press releases based on the findings of new peer-reviewed articles.

  • Text Message Appointment Reminders with a Nudge—Researchers Reduce “No-Shows” by Nearly 29% (INFORMS journal Operations Research)
  • Analyzing the Effectiveness of Government Programs in Providing Access and Availability to Rare Disease Treatments (INFORMS journal Management Science)
  • The Behavioral Implications of COVID-19: Customer Frequency Drops for Chinese Restaurants, Will it Last? (INFORMS journal Information Systems Research)
  • Online Versus In-Person Grocery Shopping: Who Benefits and Who Could be in Trouble?  (INFORMS journal Marketing Science)

Reducing Appointment “No Shows” by nearly 29% The Power of Tailored Text Messages

Patient appointment no-shows are a serious problem in the healthcare industry, but it appears text message reminders with specific messaging around future appointments can reduce this problem. Researchers from Virginia Tech and Emory University find this intervention can reduce appointment no-shows by nearly 29%. The research paper, “Nudging Patient Choice: Reducing No-shows Using Wait Framing Messaging,” finds when text message reminders include an additional line of text indicating a potentially long wait for the next available appointment, patients show up. It also signals the quality of the provider. Link to full article.

Improving Patient Access and Availability to Rare Disease Treatment: Are Government Programs Effective?

New research in the INFORMS journal Management Science finds that there are more than 7,000 rare diseases, but only 500 of them have a form of treatment. This study finds that governments can improve patient access to new drugs for rare diseases through government subsidies and innovative pricing schemes. The paper, “Improving Access to Rare Disease Treatments: Subsidy, Pricing, and Payment Schemes,” finds that government subsidies are crucial to improve the development and accessibility of new drugs for rare diseases. The researchers also find that having an independent consortium set the price can create social value. When exogenous pricing is supported by government subsidies, it can be effective in improving patient welfare and social welfare, while only slightly reducing the manufacturer’s profitability. Link to full article.

COVID-19 Discrimination: The Behavioral Changes Seen at Chinese Restaurants Throughout the Pandemic

Research surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic is vast, but research around the behavioral implications of the virus is more scarce. New research in the INFORMS journal Information Systems Research finds there are serious impacts and consequences related to discrimination against people of Asian descent in the wake of COVID-19. The paper, “Racial Discrimination and Anti-discrimination: The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impact of Chinese Restaurants in North America,” looks at the behavioral impacts of COVID-19 on Chinese restaurants at different points during the pandemic. The researchers found that the pandemic led to an obvious drop in customers for Chinese restaurants versus non-Chinese restaurants. They also found increased discrimination triggered anti-discrimination actions of customers on online platforms after the COVID-19 outbreak. Link to full article.

Breaking Down Buyer Patterns in Online Versus Offline Grocery Shopping, the Trouble for New Businesses

Changing the way we buy – new research in the INFORMS journal Marketing Science looks at buyer tendencies at brick-and-mortar stores versus Instacart trips. Data shows that online shoppers have strong brand loyalty. They stick to what they know and seldom deviate. This is good for established brands, but may be difficult for new companies to break in. The paper, “Browsing the Aisles or Browsing the App? How Online Grocery Shopping is Changing What we Buy,” also finds that online shopping baskets have 13% fewer fresh vegetables and up to 7% fewer impulse purchases. Link to full article.




As the largest professional association for the data and decision sciences, INFORMS members leverage mathematics and scientific methodologies to help organizations and governments at all levels make better, data-driven decisions. With more than 12,000 professional and student members from around the world, INFORMS members support organizations and governments at all levels as they work to transform data into information, and information into insights that save lives, save money and solve problems.




Ashley Smith


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Decision Science Digest: November 30, 2023

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Ashley Smith
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Catonsville, MD
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