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Understanding Psychographics: AJMC

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In her AJMC article, "Understanding Psychographics and How All Health Care Behavior Is Local," Mary Caffrey details how Robert Groves, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer of Banner | Aetna, discussed the use of psychographics to predict health behavior in local populations at the Patient-Centered Oncology Care conference.

Dr. Groves gave examples of psychographic data, including brands consumers select to their achievements and preferences, which could help predict health behaviors such as:

  • Why do some people always get their annual physical?
  • Why do some people faithfully take their medication?
  • Why do others avoid the doctor until they end up in the emergency department?

He also spoke about using the power of AI to leverage psychographic data. It helps to describe why people make the decisions they make.

Psychographic Segments

Dr. Groves presented research showing that people fall into five categories of decision-making. He referenced PatientBond's psychographic model and used the segment Willful Endurers to illustrate the patient/member type that, "go about life unfocused on their health, and not much will change their attitude."

The other four segments include:

Self Achievers: Proactive in preventative medicine and willing to invest time, effort and money to enhance their health

Balance Seekers: Wellness-oriented but self-reliant, willing to explore various options for their health

Priority Jugglers: Reactive in healthcare for themselves but dedicated to their family, friends and coworkers and ensure they get the care they need

Direction Takers: Higher utilizers of healthcare, but they need directive guidance from expert clinicians to take action.

The market research led by PatientBond, which Dr. Groves referenced, indicates that Willful Endurers make up nearly 70% of people who visit an ER frequently (at least 4 times per year), while Self Achievers are the most likely to stay current with checkups and wellness exams.

The PatientBond psychographic segmentation model was developed by healthcare consumer experts from Procter & Gamble who, previous to PatientBond, led three generations of psychographic modeling for P&G's Healthcare division for more than a decade. PatientBond's psychographic model is the evolution of that work and the company spent the next decade operationalizing and perfecting the model across various healthcare stakeholders, including hospitals, health insurers, urgent care, pharmacy, life sciences and employers.

Each psychographic segment requires a unique engagement strategy of the message, communication channel and frequency of engagement to maximize response. PatientBond is a platform for digital patient engagement, utilizing email, text messaging, automated calls (Interactive Voice Response) and in-app/portal messaging designed for each person's psychographic profile.

Results

PatientBond's combination of psychographic insights with dynamic, digital workflows have been used to help healthcare stakeholders achieve significant success:

  • Up to 85% reduction in unnecessary hospital readmissions for conditions such as congestive heart failure and COPD
  • 4X - 7X increase in health insurance member response to mammography and diabetes screenings
  • 3X increase in ER redirection to primary care
  • Up to 200% increase in consumer response to digital advertising
  • 4X increase patient payments and balance collections

PatientBond's platform is flexible enough to be employed across a variety of clinical, marketing and business initiatives that require consumer behavior change. This becomes especially important in value-based contracts, which continue to expand.

Health Care Behavior is Local

Dr. Groves distinguished psychographics from demographics, saying, "Demographics - things like age, gender or income level - measure facts about a person in the moment. Psychographics tend to measure characteristics that hold up over time." He continued by explaining, "When psychographics are laid over geography the resulting 'microcultures' are very local - but these are important to health systems, because that's how health care markets operate."

PatientBond partners with a national data compiler and developed an algorithm to project its five-segment model across all adults age 18+ in the United States. PatientBond offers a powerful tool known as the Insights Accelerator™ with a heat mapping function, in which users can identify the distribution and headcount of patient types (e.g., psychographic segments, ages, gender, income range) within a defined geography, including:

  • DMA (Designated Marketing Area, or media market)
  • State
  • County
  • City
  • Zip Code
  • US Census block level

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In addition to segment heatmapping, the Insights Accelerator™ has an intuitive dashboard interface allowing the user to access millions of market research data points on the psychographic segments, including:

WHO variables: Demographics, socioeconomics, health insurance coverage and health condition

WHAT variables: Attitudes, behaviors, desired healthcare services, prioritization of HEDIS and HCAHPS measures, plus many other insights

HOW variables: Preferred channels for engagement, desired frequency of communication, technologies used to interact with providers, etc.

These data and insights can help healthcare organizations enhance consumer engagement and maximize the likelihood of motivating and activating behaviors. Moreover, it can be focused on healthcare consumers within any distance radius of a provider facility.

Dr. Groves concluded, "There's great power to these data. Historically, pharmaceutical companies primarily used psychographics for marketing; understanding that data could also be used to help people stay on medication or eat healthier food and could allow health systems 'to actually manage this beast and turn it towards good.'"

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

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