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Behavioral Insights Team

Many of the most difficult problems in healthcare — problems that resist solutions but offer a high potential return on investment — involve human behavior. Getting people to change their behavior is not easy. But changing the way decisions are framed and choices are presented to people can help.

What is a Nudge Unit?

The Behavioral Insights Team, also known as the Nudge Unit, uses insights from psychological science and behavioral economics to help Geisinger patients, providers and staff improve their decisions.  “Nudges” are small changes in “choice architecture” — the way in which choices are presented to people when making decisions — that improve the outcome for at least one stakeholder in the decision while not worsening the outcomes for other stakeholders. 

Nudges are transparent, easy to opt out of and aligned with the welfare of the person being nudged. Typical nudges include:

  • Setting sensible default options, so that failing to make a decision doesn’t lead to a bad outcome
  • Altering the order of options in a set, so that the best ones are seen first
  • Describing options differently to make better ones more likely to be chosen

Why nudge?

Crucially, nudges do not eliminate any choices or substantially change the costs and benefits of choices for the decision-maker.  They preserve freedom while helping to improve outcomes for Geisinger and for our patients.

The Behavioral Insights Team designs, implements and rigorously evaluates nudges, and also investigates attitudes and reactions to nudges.

Meet the Geisinger Nudge Unit leadership:

Christopher Chabris, PhD – Faculty codirector
Michelle Meyer, PhD, JD – Faculty codirector
Amir Goren, PhD – Program director

Open call for ideas: Suggest a nudge!