Conversation Connect – Bringing Physicians and Patients Together

Tuesday, April 25
2:40 PM–3:30 PM

Location: Bonaire 5-6

Days: Tuesday, 25 April

Sarah Kastleiner, Allergan Inc & Liz Soppe, MarketVision Research

Typically this research is done separately - physicians in one group, patients in the other. We explored a new technique where we bring them together and found the results to be fascinating. The presentation highlights the value of transparency and perspective in improving outcomes.

Qualitative research in the medical arena has traditionally been focused on two very separate groups of respondents – the patients and the health care professionals. The paradigm of keeping these two cohorts separate in qualitative research is based on the premise that people will disclose more in focus groups if they are with others who they perceive to be like them; and this guideline for homogenous focus groups is rarely broken. When our client wanted to learn about the patient barriers to using one of their products, and develop materials for physicians to lead product conversations with their patients, we developed a fairly innovative research plan with physicians and patients being interviewed concurrently in separate sessions, and then coming together in one large group at the end of the research session to compare learnings. The first day of research provided good learnings about barriers to using the product, but fell short of gaining a true understanding of how the patient / physician conversation could be optimized. Together the researchers developed a totally new technique they call Conversation Connect which brings patients and physicians together in the same focus group. Using a special series of qualitative exercises before and during the sessions, respondents from each cohort got comfortable with their role in the diverse group and shared highly personal stories which led the research team to identify great insights leading to their development of very successful marketing materials. The client has gone on to use the technique with us for other product initiatives with a very high degree of success.

Key themes in development of this technique: Breaking the paradigm of homogeneous respondents in focus groups…

• Provides insights that can’t be obtained any other way
• Can still be made comfortable for respondents using customized qualitative exercises to draw out information from each type of respondent
• Can be empowering for respondents as they work together with partners who bring a very different perspective from their own