Friday, February 06, 2015

The Moment of Truth: Why Do Consumers Make the Decisions They Do?

Today’s timely guest post comes from Pamela Morris, Director, Syndicated Research, Zitter Health Insights.

She shares survey data from Hepatitis C and Diabetes patients. The data were gathered immediately after the patients visited their doctor, and include such information as the patients’ own disease research, conversations with their doctors, and intentions regarding treatment.

As Pamela explains, higher deductibles force patients to make tough healthcare choices. What motivates these choices, and how can one capture that information?

The answers can be found in the patient data available from Consumer Connect, Zitter Health Insight’s subscription service. To learn more about Consumer Connect, visit the Zitter Health Insights website or email Michala Jeberg.

The Moment of Truth: Why Do Consumers Make The Decisions They Do?
By Pamela Morris, Director, Syndicated Research, Zitter Health Insights

A new year brings a new health plan for many patients. Even those who remain with their health plan face looming deductibles at the start of the cycle. We all see how patients are faced with these deductibles that seem to increase heftily each year without pause, raising questions of affordability when patients require expensive therapies.

Such conditions make way for the increasing importance of “patient as payer”—the concept that patients will more often be making tough decisions about the amount of care they wish to consume. The power lies in the patient’s hands. This trend demands better ways to get inside the minds of the consumer and understand not only what decisions they make in the moment, but what prompts them to make that choice.

Enter Consumer Connect. This subscription service from Zitter Health Insights provides a unique lens through which biopharmaceutical companies understand their patients. Real-time, continuous data collection captures how patients behave in the moment, almost immediately after their interaction with a doctor or pharmacy.

Traditional research methods leave you wondering:
  • Will patients really remember what they did or thought when they visited the doctor several months ago? Can you believe that the data is accurate?
  • Will patients actually follow through on what they say they “would” do in a given scenario? Are the data actionable in the real world?
By understanding exactly what patients actually did in the moment, and by getting insight into why they made those decisions, pharmaceutical marketers are better poised to pull the right marketing levers and employ the right tactics at the right time.

We are excited to share some recent insights from our strategic reports in Hepatitis C and Diabetes with the readers of Drug Channels.

By surveying Hepatitis C patients over the past several months, immediately after they visited the doctor, our research found that 36% of these patients said they researched their condition before the visit. Those who did this pre-visit preparation reported spending 5 additional minutes with their doctor vs. Hepatitis C patients who did not research their condition prior to the appointment (31 minutes vs. 26 minutes average visit time). This was an even bigger difference than we observed when examining Hepatitis C patients who received a new drug during their visit, or with patients who discussed pipeline/newly approved drugs with their doctor. (See Figure 1.)

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Figure 1: The amount time Hepatitis C patients spend with the doctor

If patients who are researching their condition before the visit are getting more time with their doctors, as a brand marketer you benefit most from getting the patient’s ear before they ever get to the doctor and by advertising in the places patients most commonly seek information. Do you know what emerging channels patients are utilizing to find out about their condition and connect with other patients who share their experience? We do.

Similarly, patients receive messages and get input from all different angles and voices. They hear about a drug’s safety issue from a friend, see an advertisement from pharma on TV, get information on managing their disease from the nurse practitioner at their doctor’s office, and read the latest blog posts from a person who manages the same condition. It’s difficult to get one clear message through to patients!

In fact, we found this challenge borne out through our research. Of Diabetes patients who had just visited the doctor (again, this was captured “in the moment”), only 19% asked the doctor for a specific drug. (See Figure 2.) This percentage was about half that of Rheumatoid Arthritis patients, and was lower than most other disease states we examined.

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Figure 2: Percentage of Diabetes patients who asked their doctor for a specific drug

Pharmaceutical brand marketers spend a large amount of their budget on direct-to-consumer advertising, yet there is a clear missed opportunity to get Diabetes patients to ask about their drugs. However, there are patterns to which types of patients don’t ask their doctor for a specific drug, and we can help you identify and segment who those patients are so you can better reach them. Just as important though, we can also help you uncover why these patients never asked their doctor for a specific drug; and the rationale isn't what you might think.

Learn more about Consumer Connect from Zitter Health Insights here or email Michala Jeberg.

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