How patient navigators view the use of financial incentives to influence study involvement, substance use, and HIV treatment

Shannon Gwin Mitchell, Laura B. Monico, Maxine Stitzer, Timothy Matheson, James L. Sorensen, Daniel J. Feaster, Robert P. Schwartz, Lisa Metsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background and aims: While patient navigation has been shown to be an effective approach for linking persons to HIV care, and contingency management is effective at improving substance use-related outcomes, Project HOPE combined these two interventions in a novel way to engage HIV-positive patients with HIV and substance use treatment. The aims of this paper are to examine patient navigator views regarding how contingency management interacted with and affected their navigation process. Design: Semi-structured qualitative interviews. Participants: 22 patient navigators from the original 10 Project HOPE study sites. Measurements: Individual, semi-structured interviews lasting approximately 60 min addressed the patient navigator's professional background, descriptions of the participant population, substance use disorder versus HIV treatment entry and engagement issues, and the use of contingency management within the navigation service delivery protocol. Findings: Patient navigators believed that financial incentives helped motivate participant attendance at navigation sessions, particularly early in study involvement, which helped them to establish rapport and develop relationships with participants. Patient navigators often noted that financial incentives positively influenced targeted HIV health-related behaviors, such as attending medical appointments, which provided a rapid pay-off with an escalating sum. Contingency management was more complex when used by the patient navigators for substance use-related behaviors, particularly when incentives revolved around negative urine screening. Patient navigators noted that not all participants responded the same way to the contingency management and that the incentives were particularly helpful when participants were financially strained with limited resources or when internal motivation was lacking. Conclusions: Overall patient navigators found the inclusion of contingency management to be helpful and affective at influencing participant behaviors, particularly concerning navigation session attendance and HIV healthcare-related participation. However, issues and concerns surrounding the inclusion of contingency management for drug-related behaviors as delivered in Project HOPE were noted. Clinical Trials Registration: NCT01612169

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-23
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Contingency management
  • HIV treatment entry
  • Patient navigation
  • Qualitative
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'How patient navigators view the use of financial incentives to influence study involvement, substance use, and HIV treatment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this