This study began with one question: What factors into a physician’s decision-making process for medical treatments?
There are two main systems that humans use to make decisions.
System 1: Unconscious emotion. This happens very fast, is often involuntary, and likely associated with a past experience.
System 2: Conscious thinking. These are much slower, controlled, follow the rules, and have very clear reasoning.
Medical school training teaches physicians to use System 2: Set of symptoms + diagnosis = established treatment procedures. But when faced with two alternative and equally viable treatment options, which human influences factor into the choice?
The tools used to get closer to the physicians’ decisions
If physicians are asked days or weeks after the fact, they tend to only recall the System 2 factors that led to their choices. Mojo Brand Development needed a research solution to tap into the physicians’ thoughts, experiences and responses closer to the moment of decision before they had the chance to medicalize their decision.
Mojo Brand Development used FocusVision Revelation, a qualitative research tool utilizing mobile diaries, insight communities, and bulletin boards. Participants were asked to log at least one medical treatment decision each day via the mobile app.
The platform allowed physicians to access the study at their leisure. Revelation has native iOS and Android apps, participants can submit responses even when they’re offline. It’s so easy, even physicians with very limited spare time were able to thoughtfully participate.
Mojo also used InterVu, our live webcam interview platform, to add more depth and context to the mobile diaries. Because the physician documented the event with Revelation, the participant had mnemonic reference points to better remember the moments of decision during the interviews.
What did Mojo learn about the physician decision-making process?
A variety of trigger factors can disrupt routinized behavior making decisions more ‘active’:
- Patients living alone are more exposed to risk if something goes wrong
- Some patients are less capable of understanding what they need to do
- Some patients have inner motivation, others less so
- The doctors’ anxieties
- The doctors’ past experiences
- The doctors’ positive confidence in the patient