Doctors have been trained to work in ways that lean toward “rational”: a patient presents with a set of symptoms and the doctor follows established procedures to diagnose and treat. However, in some instances doctors find themselves confronted with a choice between alternative and equally viable treatment options. In these situations, the physician’s feelings and attitudes, together with their evaluation of the patient, are much more likely to influence the outcome. This has enormous implications for market researchers, as illuminating physician and patient journeys throughout the healthcare experience are crucial in efforts to develop sound insights.
With this in mind, Mojo Brand Development, a UK-based healthcare market research specialist, and FocusVision agreed to jointly conduct a small exploratory project looking at human influences on physician decision-making. We set out to employ two FocusVision technologies, Revelation (capturing thoughts, experiences, and responses) and InterVu (video interviews), for applying established qualitative tasks. These technologies were used in two phases of the research:
- First, physicians captured their thoughts, experiences, and responses within the Revelation app. This provided information close to the moment of decision/action and reduced the time to post-rationalize or “medicalize” their decisions.
- Second, a follow-up webcam in-depth interview (IDI) was conducted, via the InterVu platform for video interviews, to review all cases and broaden exploration to the physicians’ wider caseload, if appropriate.
Using the Revelation App to capture close-to-the-moment decision-making accounts resulted in a number of research benefits:
The research effectively got closer to the real people involved; both the doctors themselves and their versions of their patients. It uncovered how human and emotional factors can intermix with normal practices and protocols.
Capturing these accounts closer to the moment of decision delivered finer detail of the encounter, the decision and the factors influencing it. These accounts uncovered more of the minutiae of human and emotional influences at play in physician decision-making.
The content that the physicians uploaded using Revelation had value as data in itself, but also provided a series of entry points for further exploration in the follow-up InterVu video interviews. This made probing real rather than abstract.
“By partnering with FocusVision, we were able to develop a research methodology that got us closer to the real decision moment. By combining new technology with established qualitative techniques we now have a methodology that enables us to look at these moments with greater clarity and depth. This provides a valuable addition to the researchers’ toolkit.”