There’s a Disconnect Here

This is an excerpt taken from our article in the October issue of Quirk’s. To read the full article, click here

Twenty minutes, tops. That’s the average interaction between doctor & patient in a typical office visit. But what if it’s not typical because the patient has just been diagnosed with a disease? Discussions regarding diagnosis, treatment, possible medication and recommendations may occur, but it’s hard to understand what is resonating with patients who are given so much information in such a short period.

We know gaps in communication occur and effective patient-physician communication is often linked to adherence. In fact, our study on adherence last year found that at the point of diagnosis, patients frequently leave a physician’s office not knowing what condition the doctor diagnosed, not clear on what they should do, and not even knowing if they’ve gotten a prescription. Research has shown that comprehension, retention and action can improve through the use of visual stimuli in physician-patient interaction.[i],[ii],[iii] We’ve also found visual stimuli to be highly effective when uncovering patient and practitioner insights. Using images as catalysts helps engage study participants and can also help them open up around a sensitive topic to further identify what’s driving behavior and emotions around treatment.

For more details, download our Communication Gaps eBook now

For the purposes of our Communication Gaps study, we partnered with one of the top 25 pharmaceutical companies to conduct qual-quant research with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and health care providers to find out how both sides viewed their relationship and what communication gaps exist before diagnosis, at diagnosis and as treatment continues.

The online methodology integrated interactive exercises – including a retrospective diary, projective thought bubbles and a collage-building tool – with standard measures in order to explore this relationship. More specifically, we looked at what doctors believed they were communicating effectively and what information patients were really retaining. We asked about experiences with COPD, the point of diagnosis, experiences with their PCPs, and communication around medication. For more details, access our Communication Gaps eBook immediately or click here to continue reading.

[i] Kessels, 2003
[ii] Annemiek 2013 (Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis)
[iii] Danielle M.McCarthy, ED discharge instructions, “Emergency Medicine International”


Everybody’s Doing It… Are You Unplugging?

I love technology. I love it because it usually represents the latest and greatest and because it oftentimes makes our lives easier. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a full-fledged tech junkie, but I definitely lean that way. For example, for TV and movies, I don’t have cable or a DVD player, I have an Apple TV and a Roku. For reading, I have an original Nook and a Nook color. For internet access I prefer to use my iPad or my iPhone. I also love web-based technology like social media. I’ll try any social networking service at least once or twice to see if I like it.

However, about a month ago I deactivated the mother of all social media sites, my Facebook account. It had started to take over my life and not in a good way. My online self needed a break from all the trolling, the political discourse, the humblebrags, the complainers, the ‘woe is me’ attention seekers and the constant need to interact with as many people just so you can keep your news feed diverse. And you know what?  It feels like a huge weight has been lifted. I’m no longer obsessively checking my phone to see what everyone else is up to. By disconnecting or unplugging, I feel like I have more time for myself to do whatever I want.

Funnily enough, according to everything I’ve been reading lately, this is the new cool thing to do. I first heard about unplugging at an ARF Young Pros event where MTV Insights presented their study on younger Millennials (14-17 year olds). They noted that, “young Millennials have a unique relationship with technology. Unlike older Millennials who were pioneers in the “Wild West” of social media, today’s young Millennials are “tech homesteaders” – savvier about how to use technology, interested in building “gated” groups, curating, filtering and choosing to selectively unplug.” 

This isn’t something that only younger generations are doing either. Ariana Huffington (Huffington Post) and Mika Bzrezinski (Morning Joe) have been talking about unplugging to achieve living a fuller life by redefining success through their 3rd Metric campaign and events. Mika actually admitted to working on her smartphone and taking phone calls while running a half marathon. Wow! And I recently learned that the need to unplug has been given it’s own day of recognition called the National Day of Unplugging, of which the Huffington Post is a media sponsor. Every year, from sundown to sundown on the first Friday in March pledges will be made to unplug.

And just this morning as I was reading my March 2014 issue of Quirks, I came across takeaways from Mintel’s 2014 Consumer Trends Report where they gathered that consumers will become conscious “of the need to unplug, simplify and reconnect with the world around them.”

So, do you unplug? Think you might start? While I love the idea of unplugging for a whole day, I’m not sure I’d be able to unless it became a real National Holiday where I wouldn’t have to go to work. But, just like deactivating Facebook, there are other ways I choose to unplug like phone stacking. If I’m at a restaurant with my husband or friends, we stack our phones so that we aren’t constantly checking them. Are there ways that you choose to digitally detox? I’d love to hear how, comment below.


To Piggyback Or Not To Piggyback?

Lately, I’ve been noticing a trend in market research — implementation of social media platforms such as Pinterest to conduct qualitative research online. It’s been highlighted in this Quirks article, but I’ve also come across this topic in other online MR conversations. I see how this seems easy, useful, and innovative to some, but I worry that it’s a bit shortsighted.

While I wholeheartedly agree that researchers need to reach and interact with respondents in ways applicable to what they do online and also find the use of imagery in research powerful I see issues with just turning to a social media platform as a research tool. For one, this type of integration between a social media platform and research is time consuming and only seems to work on a few people at a time. The researcher needs to train each respondent on the platform so they are correctly pinning images. Also, the respondent then needs to go out and find each image which can potentially result in them not thinking broadly enough about the topic or even becoming distracted from the task. Many Pinners know how tempting it can be to continue clicking through links!  But even more importantly, this does not allow us to engage a higher number of respondents, apply certain analytics or control for bias.

Using technologies not intended for research purposes tends to leave a lot of opportunity on the table. I think research should invest more in developing its own technologies keeping methodologies and best practices in mind.