Get a Head Start on Conforming to Health Legislation in the Pipeline
Putting the customer first has long been a mantra for businesses. Increasingly, hospitals are finding that they, too, must evolve to meet the demands of rising healthcare consumerism. This shift has not gone unnoticed by the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce. In fact, the first goal addressed in the 21st Century Cures Act is “putting patients first by incorporating their perspectives into the regulatory process and addressing unmet needs.”
While it will take time for the “21st Century Cures Act” to wind its way through the bureaucracy of Congress, hospitals and other healthcare-related organizations may find that psychographic segmentation offers them a head start on truly understanding patient perspectives and successfully connecting with patients to influence their decisions and behaviors.
Digging into Patient Motivations
Before the first outline of the 21st Century Cures Act was released, a call went out for feedback from patients. The white paper, published by the Committee on Energy and Commerce, pointed out that the enormous gap between diseases and treatments — 7,000 diseases yet only 500 treatments — represents an on-going challenge for patients and their families. Noting that “…the involvement and guidance of those patients on the frontlines and their advocates is critical,” the white paper asked patients and their families to respond to a number of questions to better understand their current awareness and needs:
- What is the state of discovery of cures and treatments for your disease — and what’s on the horizon?
- Do you use or participate in programs to support research?
- Do you communicate with other patients regarding support, treatment and cures?
Those questions are ones that hospitals and other healthcare-related organizations likely want answers to as well. Why? Because all three questions establish a baseline for health literacy and patient engagement. That’s not information that is easily discerned from traditional market research— and simply identifying a market based on a shared diagnosis will fail to drive the level of engagement needed.
With consumer segmentation, you can begin to refine the target audience, but you also need deeper insights — ones that go beyond broad generalizations to identify psychographic segments based on individual consumers’ personal motivations, beliefs and attitudes about healthcare.
3 Ways Psychographic Segmentation Can Help
As hospitals, pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and others prepare for the 21st Century Cures legislation that lies ahead, understanding what motivates consumers will be more important than ever. Psychographics focus on consumers’ values, lifestyles and personalities to identify the motivations behind patient activation. Here are just three ways:
1. Increasing patient activation in the management and on-going treatment of their diseases.
Multiple studies have revealed that non-adherence to medications is a significant problem in disease management. In fact, 50 percent of patients taking maintenance medications for a chronic condition stop taking their medicines within one year of starting the therapy. Using c2b solutions’ psychographic segmentation can help healthcare organizations develop programs to boost treatment adherence based on the specific communication needs and motivators for individual segments within a specific patient population.
For example, one ACO is leveraging psychographic segmentation to refine its approach to two specific segments among its patients with diabetes — Self Achievers and Willful Endurers. By identifying the very different needs of these two groups, the ACO can optimize its outreach by customizing the messaging and channels it uses to connect with patients.
2. Identifying potential participants for clinical trials.
Likewise, not all patients with a similar diagnosis will be obvious candidates for clinical trials. With the help of psychographic segmentation, organizations can identify which patients are most likely want to participate — and most likely to adhere to the requirements of the trial.
3. Acquisition of customers for new drugs or medical devices entering the market.
Several of the initiatives within the 21st Century Cures Act involve acceleration of approvals for healthcare innovations. Whether those innovations are new drugs and medical devices or new mHealth apps, approvals will not guarantee adoption. By better understanding consumer attitudes and motivations, companies can develop targeted campaigns — possibly even through social media if the FDA eases some regulations — to reach precisely the consumers they want to engage.