The Penn Medicine Nudge Unit is the world’s first behavioral design team embedded within a health system leveraging insights from behavioral science to design and test approaches to make it easier for clinicians to make the right decisions toward better quality care and improved outcomes. It was launched in 2016 as a joint collaboration between the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation and Penn’s Center for Health Incentives & Behavioral Economics (CHIBE) and was led by founding director Mitesh Patel, MD, MBA, until 2021. Given that human behavior is the last mile challenge for almost every discovery in medicine, the Nudge Unit offers the primary vehicle through which to offer low-cost and scalable solutions, leveraging the electronic medical record and other technologies in response to the problems that operational leaders face daily.
In addition to her role as director of the nudge unit, Dr. Beidas is also an associate director of CHIBE and an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry, with joint appointments in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy and the Department of Medicine. In addition, she is the founding director of the Penn Implementation Science Center at the Leonard Davis Institute (PISCE@LDI), which she continues to lead.
What made you interested in leading the nudge unit?
I am so excited for the opportunity to lead the Penn Medicine Nudge Unit. Our vision is to achieve impact at scale, and our mission is to embed behavioral science within the DNA of Penn Medicine. There are three aspects to this opportunity that particularly interest me. First, as an implementation scientist, having impact at scale has always been a major driver for my career. I am most excited about opportunities that allow us to realize the potential of scientific discoveries — in other words, last mile challenges — and leading the Penn Medicine Nudge Unit presents an extraordinary opportunity to have impact. Second, Penn has such strong behavioral science — strength that is distributed throughout the University of Pennsylvania but that comes together at CHIBE in matters of health and health care. That’s an incredible resource. Third, we have visionary leadership at Penn Medicine. It’s the kind of leadership that sees the academic strength of the University as an asset in defining its strategy and executing that strategy in its operations. I am incredibly excited to work with other health system colleagues to create solutions to improve the health and health care of our patients and community, lower cost, and increase access and equity.
Do you see your expertise as an implementation scientist informing your work with the nudge unit?
Absolutely! We have spent the last decade at Penn growing our implementation research portfolio and educational offerings through the Penn Implementation Science Center (PISCE@LDI). However, the true measure of the impact of implementation science is whether it meaningfully informs operations and transforms practice. Leading the Penn Medicine Nudge Unit presents a one-of-a-kind opportunity to bring together insights from behavioral science and implementation science to move the needle on human behavior across seven acute-care hospitals and more than 100 community-based practices.
What goals do you have for your first year?
Our primary goals for this year are to bring on key personnel, including faculty and staff, to increase our reach; systematically and continuously learn about key priorities and how we can support our operations and practice at Penn Medicine; to engage in strategic planning to set the roadmap for the coming years; and to prioritize projects based on key metrics, including their potential to sustainably enhance clinician experience and efficiency, equitably improve patient outcomes with broad reach, and reduce cost.
Anything else you’d like to add?
We want to hear and learn from you! If you have ideas about ways in which the Nudge Unit can partner with you to support your needs, please visit our website and/or reach out to us – email@example.com.