New partnership connects health practitioners with leading behavioral science experts to build a healthier America

Behavioral Insights for Health Innovation kicks off with a spotlight on new, behaviorally-informed ways to improve vaccination rates


May 17, 2016, New York – Nonprofit behavioral science lab ideas42 today announced the launch of a new collaboration with the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE) at the University of Pennsylvania. Called Behavioral Insights for Health Innovation (BIHI), the new partnership is supported by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The joint initiative will give practitioners and policymakers tools to apply powerful and cost-effective solutions inspired by behavioral science, putting BIHI at the forefront of America’s drive for low-cost innovation and improved health outcomes. An underlying motivation for this work is that while the US spends more than any other country in health care, we rank 26th in life expectancy – many studies have highlighted that our poor rankings on metrics like life expectancy is driven by social and behavioral determinants of health.

The BIHI initiative will gather rigorous, evidence-based insights from the fields of health and the behavioral sciences and open them up to health decision-makers across the country. All of the initiative’s work will be available via free digital platforms and social media channels.

The new collaboration will also include a spotlight series of pieces taking a closer look at behavioral solutions to pressing challenges and issues that our healthcare system faces, ranging from over-prescription of pharmaceuticals to smoking cessation to diabetes prevention. The first spotlight in the series, focused on new ways that behavioral insights can increase vaccination rates among people who intend to vaccinate but fail to follow through, is now available on the website.

Many behavioral solutions, like those addressing low rates of vaccination, have yet to be adopted or implemented on a large scale. This suggests a gap between researchers and health practitioners. By focusing on how to organize and disseminate low-cost and innovative evidence-based solutions, the BIHI work will improve the reach of this research and benefit millions of Americans.

“Behavioral science has important contributions to make towards improving health, the patient experience in receiving health services, and lowering the rate of increase in health care costs,” said Dr. Kevin Volpp, Director of CHIBE and a Professor of Medicine and Health Care Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “This is increasingly important as the focus of health financing continues to shift from paying for services on a fee-for-service basis to payment models that are based on creating healthier populations.”

Ted Robertson, ideas42 Managing Director, said: “This is an open-source initiative. Our aim is to encourage others in the health field to take the knowledge and tools further and put them to use to help make a better world– either through additional research or direct implementation. It ties in perfectly with our broader mission to use behavioral science for good. We’re thrilled to launch BIHI through our first spotlight piece, highlighting vaccination rates. This is just the beginning of many effective behavioral solutions to come.”

“By closing the gap between research and practice, we can more effectively use emerging insights from behavioral economics to target and accelerate our collective efforts to build a Culture of Health in America so that everyone has an opportunity to live the healthiest life they can,” said Lori Melichar, Director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Behavioral Insights for Health Innovation will draw on academic support from CHIBE’s top network of Researchers, ideas42’s vast network of Academic Affiliates, and other Experts in Behavioral Science. The second piece in the Spotlight Series will be published in Summer 2016. Support for this new undertaking is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


About ideas42

ideas42 has a clear mission: to use our unique experience as a nonprofit at the forefront of behavioral science to change millions of lives. We create innovative solutions to tough problems in economic mobility, health, education, consumer finance, energy efficiency and international development. Our approach is based on a deep understanding of human behavior and why people make the decisions they do. Working closely with our partners from government, foundations, NGOs and companies, we have more than 60 active projects in the United States and around the world.



For further Press Information or for media availability/interviews with Behavioral Insights for Health Innovation contact:

Andy Plews

Mitra Salasel