Methods: Mind the Gap

Webinar Series

Supercharging Implementation Science With Insights From Behavioral Economics

December 8, 2023
Rinad S. Beidas, Ph.D.
Rinad S. Beidas, Ph.D.

Northwestern University
Feinberg School of Medicine

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About the Webinar

The majority of research findings are never deployed in the community, representing a research-to-practice gap. This has galvanized the development of implementation science, a discipline that has evolved rapidly. Implementation strategies comprise the active methods used to increase adoption, implementation, and sustainment of evidence-based practices (EBP). Implementation studies historically have been premised on the assumption that clinicians engage in decision making that maximizes utility for themselves and their patients. A growing body of research from the field of behavioral economics suggests that this is typically how humans make decisions. Behavioral economics includes a set of models and frameworks that recognize that individuals tend to make decisions under the constraints of bounded rationality. Behavioral economics posits that individuals, including clinicians, do not always make decisions based upon complete information, exhaustive analysis of all potential outcomes, and maximization of expected utility. Instead, individuals are influenced by myriad psychological, social, cognitive, and emotional factors and use a wide range of cognitive heuristics or shortcuts when making decisions.

This presentation describes efforts to harness tools from the intersection of implementation science and behavioral economics to super-charge implementation of EBPs. Examples related to implementation of prevention programs, including secure firearm storage program implementation, are offered. 

About Rinad S. Beidas

Dr. Rinad S. Beidas is Chair and Ralph Seal Paffenbarger Professor of Medical Social Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. Previously, Dr. Beidas served as founding Director of the Penn Implementation Science Center at the Leonard Davis Institute and Director of the Penn Medicine Nudge Unit. Dr. Beidas’ research leverages insights from implementation science and behavioral economics to make it easier for clinicians, leaders, and organizations to use best practices to improve the quality and equity of care and enhance health outcomes. She works across areas including mental health, firearm safety promotion, cancer, HIV, and cardiovascular disease and collaborates closely with key partners, including patients, clinicians, health system leaders, payers, and policymakers. 

As an international leader in implementation science, Dr. Beidas has published approximately 300 peer-reviewed publications in journals such as JAMA, NEJM Catalyst, and Implementation Science. She has led two NIH centers on behavioral economics and implementation science (P50 MH 113840, P50 CA 244690) and has a strong record of NIH-funded implementation research serving as Multiple Principal Investigator or Principal Investigator of 11 NIH grants totaling approximately 31 million dollars. She is an associate editor for Implementation Science and Implementation Science Communications, the flagship journals for the field. Dr. Beidas holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Colgate University and a Doctorate of Philosophy in psychology from Temple University. She is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies President’s New Researcher Award; the American Psychological Foundation Diane J. Willis Early Career Award; the Perelman School of Medicine Marjorie Bowman New Investigator Research Award; and the Acenda Institute Research Pioneer Award.

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