Who we are
We are a behavioral design team that bridges research activities at the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE) and innovation efforts at the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation.
The Penn Medicine Nudge Unit is the world’s first behavioral design team embedded within a health system. Our mission is to leverage insights from behavioral economics and psychology to design and test approaches to steer medical decision-making toward higher value and improved patient outcomes.
Human behavior is the final common pathway for most advances in medicine. No matter how effective a medication, protective a vaccine, or beneficial a lifestyle modification, clinicians must recommend them and patients must engage with them to achieve improvements in health. Our decisions and behaviors are heavily influenced by the environment in which they occur. For example, small changes to the way choices are presented and information is framed within the electronic health record can lead to significant differences in the way clinicians order tests and treatments. Social networks and norms influence how individuals eat and exercise. In many cases, these influences go unnoticed or are not given much thought. Nudge units can help develop systematic approaches to designing interventions that better align our decisions and behaviors with long-term goals.
Examples of effective nudges