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How Market Research and Consumer Insights Are Being Used to Improve Health Outcomes


Kaiser Family Foundation research on healthcare spending and health outcomes reveals that Americans have higher disease rates and shorter life expectancies than healthcare consumers in other wealthy nations. KFF says, “Unfortunately, ranked with other comparable countries, the U.S. has the highest rate of deaths that are preventable by good healthcare.”

Since the U.S. spends more on healthcare than comparable countries, throwing money at the problem won’t solve it—and neither will the status quo.

“Healthcare companies that adopt a universal consumer strategy will face challenges and frustrations because there is no single strategy that will meet these varied desires and needs,” writes global consulting firm Oliver Wyman in Complexity and Opportunity: A Survey of US Health Consumers’ Worries and Wants.

So how can healthcare providers move the needle on health outcomes in a positive direction?


Using psychographic segmentation to boost patient engagement

Healthcare providers enjoy an abundance of diagnostic and demographic data on patients, and while such information is useful, it doesn’t provide insights into individuals’ deeper beliefs and attitudes toward health and wellness. How can healthcare organizations even begin to motivate healthcare consumers that they don’t know?  

Psychographic segmentation offers a view into what makes consumers tick. Psychographics pertain to people’s attitudes, beliefs, values and personalities. Healthcare consumers, for example, fall into five distinct segments within c2b solutions’ proprietary model based on their intrinsic motivations, priorities and approaches to health & wellness: Self-Achievers, Balance Seekers, Priority Jugglers, Direction Takers and Willful Endurers.  Some segments are proactive when it comes to healthcare; others are reactive. Some segments want to receive specific instructions on what they should do for their health; others want options and choices to make their own decisions.

Healthcare companies that adopt a universal consumer strategy will face challenges and frustrations because there is no single strategy that will meet these varied desires and needs

When combined with additional healthcare consumer market research, healthcare organizations can realize significant advantages that support better health outcomes:

  • Enhance health literacy: Almost 9 out of 10 healthcare consumers struggle to understand health-related information—from having difficulty following medical directions to trying to navigate the complexities of health insurance plans—and it negatively impacts health outcomes. But if health-related information is tailored to address the psychographics of individuals and is written in plain language, it can empower consumers to manage their health more proactively.
  • Build better relationships with Millennials and Gen Xers: Nearly half of the U.S. population, these generations are more likely than Baby Boomers to see healthcare as a consumer good, according to the Oliver Wyman survey. As such, they bring an expectation that their healthcare journey should be digitally-enabled, convenient and highly-personalized—just like their experiences with other industries. Moreover, nearly 60 percent of Millennials are comprised of two segments: Willful Endurers and Balance Seekers. Each segment responds to different messaging and propositions. Market research and psychographic segmentation can help healthcare organizations meet this expectation.
  • Optimize engagement along the right channels: In addition to identifying attitudes, psychographics can help explain behavioral differences. For example, Balance Seekers look for health-related information from a variety of sources—not just healthcare professionals—while Direction Takers see physicians as their most credible information source. By understanding where healthcare consumers go for information and advice, healthcare organizations can engage with them more organically—be that from the hospital website, on a social forum or via an app.  
  • Improve health outcomes related to chronic conditions: When it comes to managing chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, people may share the same diagnosis, but they approach it in very different ways. Disease management programs tailored to these differing psychographic segments have proven far more effective at motivating behavior change, thereby improving outcomes and reducing costs. For example, TriHealth, a major health system in Cincinnati, Ohio, uses c2b solutions’ psychographic segmentation model with its health coaches to positively influence the behavior of patients with diabetes and musculoskeletal issues. TriHealth saw a 90 percent increase in personal health goals achieved among patients with diabetes.

Highly-personalized experiences turn consumers into loyal customers. Just look at how Netflix uses its knowledge of customer preferences for its recommendation engine and programming development. The alternative is bleak, as the Oliver Wyman report points out, “Organizations that generalize consumers’ preferences today risk becoming the Blockbuster of healthcare.”

But by understanding the attitudes that healthcare consumers bring to a doctor’s office, a pharmacy, an insurance company or even a workplace, organizations can deliver more relevant communications that lead to higher engagement. What insights do you need to connect with patients in ways that inspire action and lead to better health outcomes?

Psychographic Segmentation and its Practical Application in Patient Engagement and Behavior Change


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