Friday, 25 May 2012

The BHBIA conference – beyond expectations!!

As a first time delegate, I did not know what to expect from the BHBIA conference.  It’s fair to say, my expected highlights were the awards dinner and guest speech by Mark Foster, one of the UK’s most decorated sportspeople. 

From my tower of cynical ignorance, I had two main preconceptions about the conference as;
1.   A backslapping exercise for the main sponsoring agencies/client companies
2.   A platform for agencies/service providers to hawk their wares, with harassed clients fleeing successive sales pitches as they make their way from coffee pot to  paper-presentation

My opinion, however, rapidly and considerably changed for three key reasons…


As I listened to the first paper-presentation, I was struck by the atmosphere of togetherness and partnership.  The transparent discussion of innovative methodologies and success stories was inspiring.  Imparting this “winning feeling” to us all and initiating new directions of thinking was not just refreshing…it was incredibly motivating. 


It was very easy to see the pride delegates have in the Pharma industry. Highlighted at every point was how business intelligence adds value to all aspects of a brand’s life cycle.  There is real scope for change, real opportunity for innovation and real need for the business intelligence community to make the difference.  I doubt any delegate left without a feeling of purpose and energy.


Opportunity to talk with client and agency colleagues with the sole agenda of promoting better business intelligence was very powerful.  Existing pre-conceptions and relationships were set aside, as delegates openly discussed issues and brainstormed solutions.  This added to the positive feeling of the conference and likewise to my belief in what I/we can achieve to improve healthcare in the UK.

As for looking ahead? I will certainly attend the 2013 BHBIA conference, and hope this summary encourages thinking into what a creative forum like this could mean to your company and team’s approach to business intelligence.

Oh, I almost forgot, the awards dinner and Mark Foster speech were also sensational!

The author: Joe Gadilhe is Senior Research Executive at Branding Science. With experience across therapy areas, he has managed research projects exploring the views and opinions of payers and physicians in the UK and abroad.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Rapid Physician Decision Making Task

”Instinct is intelligence incapable of self-consciousness.”
John Sterling, author

Mining gut instinct in pharmaceutical market research.......
In the world of healthcare, millions of life-changing decisions are made by physicians daily - which treatment pathway to follow, which drug to choose, when to switch and what to switch to? Guidelines may inform these choices but physicians, like all of us, are creatures of habit and make many of their decisions from a gut instinct, formed and reinforced by experience. As market researchers the real value of our work is in finding out the triggers for these ‘gut’ decisions – but how can we be sure we are getting their genuine decisions, and not what they feel is expected of them

This problem lay at the centre of a recent piece of research carried out by Branding Science in antifungal therapy. Here a variety of drug choices are available but decisions tend to be uniform and quickly made. We needed to determine the genuine ‘instinctive’ decision (or dare we say, prescribing habits) of physicians- but felt that traditional qualitative methods wouldn’t allow physicians the ‘time and distance’ to elicit this gut response. To do this we needed to get as near as possible to the real life prescribing environment- to get out of the interview room and into the operating room.

The Rapid Physician Decision (RPD) task.......
To combine the benefits of qualitative research with the statistical edge of quantitative research, we looked to the annals of cognitive psychology for inspiration- and the Rapid Physician Decision (RPD) task was born

This is essentially a computer-based task measuring instantaneous physician responses to a series of rapid fire questions- which are then promptly incorporated into qualitative research interviews. This allows us to contrast ‘gut’ vs. considered responses, and probe where inconsistencies arise- really getting ‘under the skin’ of the decision

RPD allows us to quantify gut instinct in situations where it really matters, like treatment decisions, message testing and logo/concept refinement. RPD is flexible enough to cater for all; whilst even technophobes can produce a basic ‘preference test’ within an hour, more confident technophiles can introduce ranking and routing elements and even measure speed of response to see just how ‘hard wired’ decision choices are. 

Please follow this blog, as in my next post, I will be showing you how it works !

The author: Ben Jones is Senior Research Executive at Branding Science. He has a special interest in digital and how research can harness new technologies to generate deeper insights.