The Population Health Lab employs rigorous research methods grounded in behavioral science to evaluate and scale novel technology-driven approaches to health care delivery that improve outcomes and reduce disparities. By developing strong partnerships with clinical operations across the health system and strategically aligning our research with system goals, we generate evidence to inform generalizable best practices for population-level health care at Penn Medicine and other health systems.
Projects at the Population Health Lab move through three phases.
Through contextual inquiry and data analysis, we identify areas where we can improve health care delivery to realize better outcomes on the population level. We examine the barriers that patients and clinicians face and converge on feasible solutions. This often includes early pilot testing leveraging the electronic health record or communications technology.
Partnering closely with clinical operations, we design and conduct large pragmatic trials at relatively low cost to evaluate scalable interventions while advancing clinical goals (reducing disparities and improving patient outcomes).
When an intervention proves effective, we collaborate with clinical teams across the health system to adapt and implement the approach for broad and sustained impact.
Key Project Domains
We use a combination of direct outreach to patients and nudges in the electronic health record during office visits to boost participation in preventive activities like vaccination, cancer screening, and testing for important health markers.
We make it easier for patients and clinicians to connect outside of the traditional office visit to improve health care access and reduce clinician burden.
Learn about some of the behavioral science principles we apply in our interventions.
Setting a desired choice as the default – instead of requiring people to opt in – often increases uptake
Making tasks easier or reducing steps can improve participation and completion rates
Text messaging is a low-cost, widely accessible, and scalable mode of sharing information
Leveraging monetary rewards or penalties can influence behavior
Awareness of how others behave can motivate individuals to adjust their behavior
Interested in adopting our approaches in your department or health system? Have an idea for a new population health intervention you’d like to collaborate on? Get in touch by emailing us at email@example.com.