Pharmaceutical and healthcare companies invest a great deal of time and money in commissioning research to address their insight gaps. The process often results in a suboptimal return on investment (ROI) due to faulty communication and inefficient documentation of insights. Amit Sheinholtz, Senior Associate User Experience Consultant and Elisa del Galdo, Head of Customer Experience discuss common pitfalls of the negative insight lifecycle and how to avoid them.
The right kind of insight can help pharmaceutical and healthcare companies to be truly customer-centered and data-driven. It can provide a holistic understanding of customers and different aspects of their lives that likely affect their interaction with the business. For example, met and unmet needs, how they think and feel, what they value most, and what drives their decision-making process.
That’s why collecting the right data and extracting the right insight to inform your actions can show you how to best address real customer needs seamlessly.
Turning data into insight
There is still some confusion around the difference between data and insight. At Blue Latitude Health, we define data as the raw and often unprocessed evidence, which normally takes the form of numbers and text.
Insights are extracted through the process of data analysis. We interpret the data with the context and objective of its use in mind to draw conclusions and form meaningful, actionable ‘nuggets’ – insights.
The insight you extract from your data shouldn’t be ‘static’, or a single-use, onetime view of your customers, regardless of whether they are healthcare professionals, patients or caregivers. Your customers evolve; the landscape and context in which they operate changes, and so should your insight. In that regard, even the fact that your insights are changing (or not) is a valuable insight in itself.
Falling into the negative insight lifecycle
Generating insight is often expensive, which means it is essential to ensure the insights commissioned in one project can drive future strategies. However, in many cases, the ROI of the commissioned research is suboptimal. This is due to the negative insight lifecycle – a trap pharmaceutical and healthcare companies often fall into. This cycle results in insight are difficult to communicate, easily disregarded or stored somewhere on a server and forgotten.
The six steps of lost insight
- Someone or something triggers a need for more data or insight.
- A research project is designed to meet the needs of the current objective, timeline and budget, and then commissioned.
- Research is executed and data are collected.
- The raw data are analyzed and reduced into lots of Post-its that get thrown away in the process of writing a report or documenting. The insight ‘nuggets’ on these Post-its become lost; and, instead of a lifecycle, the process becomes a linear dead-end.
- Sometimes, the attained insights ‘advance’ from their Post-it form to a Word, Excel or PowerPoint report. The report is presented, then stored on a server and never revisited – another linear dead-end.
- On some occasions, the insights are visualized using graphic representations, such as personas, customer journeys or storyboards. These visualizations are printed, presented and end up in the bin.
Moving towards a positive insight lifecycle
There are a few measures that can be taken to ensure your insight remains valuable, relevant, accessible and up-to-date – the positive insight lifecycle.
The most effective way is to use an insight repository, which ensures the insight is held in a living, interrogatable database. The same insight can be revisited whenever needed and reanalyzed from different perspectives.
By using a tailored dashboard, the insight can be filtered and manipulated to address new business objectives that arise in the future. Conversely, if the existing insight is no longer relevant or insight does not exist, gaps can be identified to decide whether additional research needs to be commissioned. New insight can also be added to the database and can be examined in light of existing insight and compared to assess changes over time.
Because the insight in the database is more accessible and can be revisited whenever the need arises, we can prolong the shelf life of insights and increase their value so they aren’t lost once they are delivered.
Another advantage of having all of the insight live in a dynamic database is the ability to restructure it to create different types of visualizations that can address different business objectives.
Transforming inaccessible research into lasting actionable insight
For a recent project, we were approached by a client who wanted to understand the different ways in which their various customers, ranging from pharmacists and general practitioners to specialists and policymakers, consume medical content.
During the initial discovery phase, we learned that the client had significant amounts of data and commissioned third-party research on their customers. However, the data was locked away in disparate documents. Owing to their inaccessible nature, the existing data was not being leveraged in making strategic and design decisions. It became apparent that outputs from costly research projects commissioned over the years resulted in poor ROI.
We extracted the insights that were locked away in these documents and reports and created a database of insights that were categorized and tagged with meta-data. This ensured that any information about the research as a whole, that would have an impact on the validity of the insights in future projects, was documented.
Our approach aimed to maximize the value of their existing data, instead of conducting additional customer research and adding unnecessary costs. We undertook a comprehensive review of the outputs from more than 50 pieces of research and supplemented it with our intellectual property to create a repository of insights, cross-referenced to meta-data on each piece of research and insight type.
To address the business objectives of the project and help the client understand the differences between their customer groups, we leveraged insights from the repository to design customer personas and journeys. In this case, the value of the repository was two-fold – it was used to inform the initial deliverables and used again when the client asked us to extend the demographics of the sample.
By using the bespoke filtering system that we implemented into the repository, we were able to easily locate and pull out the additional insight that was needed to enhance the personas and journeys.
The client benefited from having a living document, which can be easily accessed and updated. In addition to using the repository to identify data gaps and inform the design of future research projects, saving the business time and money, the data in the repository can easily be accessed and updated, maximizing the life and value of their existing insight.