Talya Miron-Shatz, PhD., is a psychologist who specializes in how people make medical decisions, what their barriers are, and how these can be overcome. She did her post-doc at Princeton University with Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman and taught at Wharton, University of Pennsylvania. She has over 50 peer-reviewed publications on medical decision making, and vast industry experience. She is currently a visiting researcher at Cambridge University.
For almost two decades researcher, writer, speaker, entrepreneur, and consultant Talya Miron-Shatz has been dedicated to the issue of medical decision making. The questions she asks, and the answers she gives, are increasingly larger, and relate to the intersection of psychology and medicine. How do patients make choices? What do they need to understand their care and options? How can they be brought to enjoy the benefits of digital health? How can the human touch make a difference in times when medical challenges are inevitable?
She contends that while patients experience their challenges as very personal, these are rooted in institutional practices, and need to be considered as what constitutes good care. Often, it is beyond the doctors’ control, and they too can benefit from an overhaul of the patient role.
The daughter of a bank teller and a nurse, Miron-Shatz grew up in Jerusalem, Israel. She did her BA, MA at Hebrew University’s psychology department, and worked for over a decade as an organizational psychologist. When she returned to graduate school at the psychology department, she was studying heuristics and biases. Creating and teaching a course on ‘The Psychological Aspects of Medical Decision Making’ to genetic counseling students was her first foray into medical decision making. This was in 2004.
In 2005 she completed her PhD. And went with her family to Princeton University, for a post-doctorate position with Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman, until 2009. Together, they studied happiness. From 2008 to 2011 she taught consumer behavior at the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania, and loved every minute.
In 2009 she joined the business school at the Ono Academic College, where she is now an associate professor. She also became a writer for Psychology Today, where her blog, Baffled by Numbers which was read by over 130,00 people.
Since then she has written more than 50 academic papers: some on happiness, but mostly on medical decision making. Her interests are diverse, covering multiple angles of the patient experience.
2010 marked the beginning of her now considerable industry involvement, with a white paper she wrote for Global Health, Johnson and Johnson, on The Potential of a Health Scorecard for Promoting Health Literacy. Since then she worked with PR agencies health advertisers (Edelman PR, DraftFCB, InTouchSolutions) on projects around adherence to medication, prescriber behavior, mechanisms of behavioral economics, and more.
Through these agencies, and directly, she worked with numerous pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, Abbvie, Boringer-Ingelheim, BMS, Novartis, and others on projects around leading physician advisory boards, designing patient outreach and communication, training sales reps, and more. In her work with technology giants, such as NantMobile, she led teams of engineers in introducing an entire layer of psychological drivers to facilitate adherence to medication. Similarly, she has helped multiple startups—from Healarium to Glucome—hone their operating mechanisms in conveying health information to change patient behavior.
For several years, Dr. Miron-Shatz co-organized the eHealth Venture Summit at MEDICA, the world’s largest medical device exhibition (with Dr. Stefan Becker), and ran the Pharma 2.0 series for NYC’s Health 2.0 meetup.
As a keynote speaker for Donate Life America’s 2014 annual conference, she demonstrated the use of behavioral economics to get people to sign up as donors. In her frequent speaking engagements—Financial Times NY and London, Digital Health Congress, Nudge Portugal, and numerous academic and industry events, she demonstrates her commitment to disseminating her knowledge around improving how people engage with their medical decisions and health.
She was the CEO and co-founder of Buddy&Soul, a platform for personal development, that offered comprehensive support for behavior change, and self-management of medical conditions. This marks the evolution of her ideas around shared decision making and health habits, where good intentions don’t suffice, and people need tools and skills to achieve their health and participation goals.
In 2019, Miron-Shatz became a visiting researcher at the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication, at Cambridge University.
Her book on medical decision-making will be published by Basic Books in 2021. This is the culmination of her efforts to improve how people deal with their medical decision making, and how their physicians, and the institutions that care for them, facilitate this process, rather than leaving patients to their own devices.
Miron-Shatz and her husband have three children.