Friday, October 29, 2010

With Patient Non-Adherence, Use a Little Psychology

My mother always said to get resistant people to do what you want, use a little psychology. That’s exactly what MicroMass Communications says in a recent white paper that discusses patients with chronic diseases and their unhealthy habits. MicroMass says if you want these patients to lose weight, take their medications, adopt positive attitudes, and so on, then it’s essential to find what will motivate them to do just that.

In their white paper, called “Understanding and Changing the Metabolic Mindset” researchers at MicroMass interviewed 1,500 patients with type 2 diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and hypertension. They started out wanting to know the differences among the patients, so they could understand how to sell to them more effectively. But in the interviews, MicroMass researchers began seeing similarities among these people – the patients’ barriers to changing their behaviors were not all that different.

The researchers organized the patients into four groups: those on cruise control; those who take charge; those who are disengaged; and those who are overwhelmed. The last group is the largest; in a video, MicroMass’s director of behavioral services says patients in this group lack confidence to do what they need to do -- healthcare providers often mistake this lack of confidence for indifference. Encouraging the completion of baby steps is important here, she says.

Healthcare providers who can identify which group their patients belong in will see more success with those patients, MicroMass says. “Programs built around behavioral models have been successful.”

Nobody in this reading audience needs the dollars lost to patient non-adherence repeated here. A few pilot studies certainly seem in order.  To my friends at Micromass, Great Work! Others in your business should be making similar investments in their marketing strategy recommendations as well.

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