You know how crucial understanding provider and patient interactions are to the commercial impact of healthcare brands, but what you may not realize is that recent advances in neuroscience have shown that human decision-making is not rational. In fact, emotions are the single, greatest driver of our behavior, particularly when it comes to health decisions. Yet, predictive models too often lack the ability to make sense of, or for that matter even detect, emotions. So, what can you do when your therapy’s success depends on truly understanding those emotional drivers in the exam room, even when the exam room is virtual? Look beyond what providers and patients are saying or doing. Instead, access what they are feeling using social science and an evidenced-based research approach to create meaningful outcomes and better provider-patient experiences. Here’s how.
Human Needs in Healthcare Interactions
Most theories on how people make decisions suggest that we think, then feel and then buy. Because of this, marketing research in healthcare tends to focus on understanding the rationale behind patients’ decisions. But the fact is that the rationale offered by patients and providers in traditional quantitative surveys is often just an attempt to make sense of their instinctual behavior.
What’s the missing link? The fact that our conscious thoughts and behaviors are attached to deep emotional needs. In reality, 85 percent of decisions we make happen automatically and unconsciously in the emotional part of our brain1 .
85 percent of decisions we make happen automatically and unconsciously in the emotional part of our brain.
Research in developmental, cognitive and social psychology all show that throughout our lives, our actions are primarily motivated by a set of core emotional needs – control, self-expression, recognition, belonging and care.
The key then, for your healthcare brand is to define the relevant core emotional needs of those involved, identify which needs are being met or unmet, and the effects of the emotional needs on observed behavior and decision-making during patient-provider interactions. Then, translate those behavioral insights using an “empathetic lens” into strategic brand marketing programs that address relevant core emotional needs at every core point of contact.
An Evidence-Based Framework for Empathetic Research
ICG’s proprietary framework for empathetic research can help you do just that. We deliver evidence-based insights that help healthcare marketers drive results and change how healthcare companies connect with patients, caregivers, and physicians using innovative methodologies like:
- Interchange™—The only telehealth discovery solution that provides insight into the evolving dynamics of the HCP patient interaction with fully digital interactive access in real-time
- Immersions—Integrates researchers into a physician’s practice to provide a transparent view into the HCP patient interaction and the factors driving decision-making to inform sales and marketing
- Virtual Reality—Creates a simulated immersive environment, allowing patients or physicians to role play in a real-time discussion with key stakeholders; ideal for vetting hypotheses related to drivers and barriers
- Communities—Online Communities enabling participants to engage anytime, anywhere, on an ongoing basis to provide insight into both individual and collective attitudes and behavior
- Dynamic Dyads—Provide observation of peer-to-peer dialogue and interactions between target HCPs with differing opinions to provide increased accuracy and clarity about product perceptions and information needs
But simply identifying those core emotional needs and insights isn’t enough. Our 20+ years of expertise and broad therapeutic experience enables us to apply not only the appropriate empathetic lens, but also to bring your research to life through analysis that can be directly applied to your marketing strategy and programs to truly gain an empathetic edge for your brand.
Because today, it’s only through that empathetic edge that your brand can uniquely meet the evolving needs in provider and patient interactions to change behavior as well as decision-making in your brand’s favor.
Learn how we can deliver your empathetic edge by contacting Managing Partner, Nate Hoffberg, at firstname.lastname@example.org
1) Zaltman, G., How Customers Think, 2003, HBS Press P.9