About this event

  • Date and time Mon 1 Jul 2019 from 1:00pm to 7:30pm
  • Location Chandos House
  • Organised by Public Engagement Programme

In this session, we will introduce the fundamentals of decision making and examine the risks and opportunities that a better understanding of human behaviour exposes in clinical settings. 

We'll be joined by members of The Behavioural Insights Team, a social purpose organisation which applies behavioural insights to help improve policy. Some of BIT's recent work in healthcare has included:

  • Reducing unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions by 73,000 by informing GP practices when they were prescribing many more antibiotics than their peers

  • Improving hospital appointment attendance by 25% by designing text message reminders which emphasise the cost of the appointment to the NHS

In recent decades, developments in the behavioural sciences have rapidly advanced our knowledge of how people make decisions and judge information. Humans have developed sophisticated ways of processing complex information quickly, which sometimes force us to trade-off speed for accuracy.

Doctors are no exception to this rule, with recent research highlighting that contextual cues can influence prescribing behaviours, specialist referrals, medical error incidence, and much more.

Join us to:

  • Take part in interactive exercises to show how the human brain works, where judgement and decision making predictably go wrong, and what this can mean in practice
  • Build familiarity with examples of how behavioural science has been applied to improve clinical environments and processes
  • Reflect on the opportunities to use this approach in your own workplace, and provide a framework to do so.  

You can view the full programme below.

Key speakers

Elspeth Kirkman

Elspeth Kirkman

Director of Health, Education, and Local Government at the Behavioural Insights Team

Speaker's biography

Elspeth Kirkman is the Director of Health, Education, and Local Government at the Behavioural Insights Team. She has worked all over the world applying behavioural science to improve the outcomes of public services, including hospitals and health policy.

She has taught behavioural science at Harvard, acts as an expert advisor to a number of global institutions, and serves as a Senior Fellow for Casey Family Programs, advising on the applications of behavioural and decision science to child welfare systems.

Prior to joining BIT in 2013, Elspeth was a management consultant working with government clients around the world.

Mark Egan (BI)

Dr Mark Egan

Advisor, the Behavioural Insights Team

Speaker's biography

Mark is an Advisor working across the Health and Research teams in the London office. His projects include examining the effect of cognitive biases on government decision-making and the behavioural factors which affect non-urgent attendances at hospital emergency departments. Mark holds a PhD in Behavioural Science from the University of Stirling.


View the programme

Registration, tea and coffee
Welcome address

Elspeth Kirkman, Director of Health and Social Care, Childhood and Schools, Skills, and Local Delivery, The Behavioural Insights Team

Workshop (Part 1)

Elspeth Kirkman and Dr Mark Egan​, the Behavioural Insights Team

Tea and coffee break
Workshop (Part 2)

Elspeth Kirkman and Dr Mark Egan​, the Behavioural Insights Team

Closing remarks

Elspeth Kirkman

Close of meeting / Drinks reception
End of drinks reception


Chandos House, 2 Queen Anne Street, London, W1G 9LQ, United Kingdom