Designing for Health: Interview with Billy Nicolich

In 2008, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein published their book Nudge, popularizing nudge theory and bringing a new focus on behavioral economics into the worlds of business and government. In their book, they demonstrate how small but intentional adjustments to a given environment, or “nudges,” can gently push users toward a desired outcome. In the world of healthcare, this theory has been used to show how something as simple as changing the order of a dropdown menu in an electronic health record can have an outsized impact and nudge clinicians to choose the best prescription option more frequently. While it’s not without its critics, understanding nudge theory and employing it in simple ways can result in breakthrough insights, helping clinicians and patients “do the right thing” more easily and more often.

On this episode Nordic Chief Medical Officer Craig Joseph, MD, chats with Billy Nicolich, healthcare product manager at Press Ganey. They discuss Billy’s background in healthcare and experience design, the legacy and impact of nudge units, and why he sees history as being divided into “pre-manifesto” and “post-manifesto.” They also discuss the scientific study of “stupidity,” how bad decisions create real pain points for users, and in what ways human-centered design can remediate some of that pain and stupidity.

You can find complete show notes on the originally published article on Nordic’s blog.

Meet the Host

Craig Joseph, MD

Chief Medical Officer
LinkedIn: Craig Joseph MD, FAAP, FAMIA
X: @CraigJoseph
Read his articles

Dr. Joseph is the Chief Medical Officer of Nordic Consulting Partners, a global healthcare management consulting firm. Craig has 30 years of healthcare and IT experience. In addition to practicing medicine as a primary care pediatrician for eight years, he worked for Epic for six-plus years and has served as chief medical information officer at multiple healthcare organizations, using both Cerner and Epic.

Craig is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Medical Informatics Association. He remains actively board-certified in both pediatrics and clinical informatics.

About the Show

When it comes to how healthcare works in the U.S., one wonders, who designed it? Well, no one. And that’s the problem. Dr. Craig Joseph speaks with luminaries from across the health ecosystem about how to make healthcare work for humans. The upshot? The way out of the frustrating, expensive, and frequently ineffective quagmire of the U.S. healthcare system is to take a step back and bring intentional, human-centered design to an ecosystem that works for the people giving and receiving care.

Follow the show’s social hashtag #DesigningforHealth.