Why Your Clinical Story Isn't Changing Their Prescribing Habits (And What You Can Do About It)

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It's beyond frustrating. You've got a terrific clinical story. A real benefit for patients. A p-value your stats professor would drool over. Your product – drug, drug/device combo, diagnostic panel – could change the world, if only the world would change.

What is getting in the way?

Do the reps need more training? Is your pricing strategy off target? Will your product require prescribers to do more “selling” than they're used to? Are your competitors brandishing a bigger budget and larger field footprint?

The answer to all could be, “yes,” but in our experience, the biggest boulder on what ought to be the inevitable clear path to the advancing of science is often the science of human behavior.  And what that field of study tells us is that as a rule, humans rarely make purely rational decisions.

Even those trained to be data-driven tend to rely on a tangled amalgam of evidence, experience, and emotion. Not necessarily in that order. With the vast amounts of data and updates spewed forward in each morning's batch of newsletters, it's understandable that they fall into the logical traps that cloud judgment and foster a loyalty to the status quo.

Here are just a few of the biases we at precisioneffect have identified in a recent effort to increase utilization of two different drugs in the hospital setting:

Status Quo Bias

Individuals like to stay relatively the same and feel the risk of change is not worth the potential benefits.

Decision Paralysis

Overloaded with too much choice, individuals will avoid decision-making completely or spend too much time on making decisions.

Availability Bias

Individuals use mental shortcuts to make decisions based on examples that are recent or most available in their minds.

Identifying the behaviors in order to change them

At precisioneffect, we get around these black holes by identifying all the behaviors, prevailing attitudes, and potential biases – along the continuum of treatment (or diagnosis) where HCPs or patients are making micro-decisions that could potentially be shifted with the appropriate touch. 

Often there are a host of beliefs that need to line up before a doctor can specify your brand:

·         Does he consider the current guidelines?

·         Does she see many patients with this condition or just a few?

·         Does he have experience with other drugs in the class?

·         How intense is the pressure to choose a lower-cost alternative?

These are the hotspots, the standard-changing moments that lead to prescribing behavior and habit building.

We match up the hotspots against the prospect's media profile. Do they consume professional videos online? 70% of doctors do. Do they depend on the information they receive from others? CEOs tend to gather a lot of opinions. That behavior can be traced via dark social- listening technology.

With hotspots pinpointed and consumption habits tagged, we have the opportunity to be highly relevant; delivering the right information or the right influencer to break through the biases and offer real value (which could be a benefit of our product, supported by its terrific data).

People are wired to cling to the status quo, what's known is safe and comfortable. Embracing new agents or technology pushes everyone -- HCPs, patients, caregivers, and even payers into areas unknown. Which is, of course, where the real change is happening. The better we understand just how we all think, the sooner we can get there.

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