Behavioural insights to navigate complex healthcare markets

Martine Leroy|6th June 2018

The European Union alone spends €700bn (£624 bn) annually on chronic disease management. Healthcare systems, which were initially designed for single disease states, are now required to manage polypharmacy and to also coordinate care. This is an unprecedented challenge. Now, policymakers are developing new care ecosystems, increasingly driven by home care and patient self-management.

There are thousands of health interventions on the market designed to improve patient outcomes – most of them digital. Demand is still growing as more patients, carers and healthcare professionals find themselves navigating complex disease states. Luckily, our learning from behavioural science and its applications has progressed significantly during the last decade and there is growing evidence of what works and does not.

In pharma, our data-rich, evidence-based and technology-driven heritage allows us to translate our learning into brand initiatives that ensure we can develop our brands in complex markets and situations.

At Blue Latitude Health, we apply this novel thinking to launch excellence and service design. Here, we outline how this knowledge can help navigate complex markets, helping our clients to improve care and health outcomes, while optimising brand success.

A perfect storm

Today’s healthcare world relies on a perfect storm of scientific understanding of human behaviour, the public salience of complexity of care, and progress in artificial intelligence. Behavioural science teaches us that patients and healthcare professionals alike are fundamentally people.

Behavioural insights, captured in context, give us a detailed understanding of the true dimensions of stakeholders’ behaviours and possible implications on care.

We are all savvy, demanding, and our expectations of treatments and interventions are soaring. We expect support, digital or otherwise, to be user-friendly, fit into our lifestyles and provide ongoing feedback.

Behavioural theory uncovers true customer insights and shapes brand solutions, which are powerful tools in complex situations. For example, let’s consider the 50 million multimorbidity patients in Europe. They pose a multi-dimensional challenge, from maintaining adherence to poly-medication and managing diseases across disease states, to delivering adequate care at population, sub-group, or individual levels.

The EU-funded Horizon 2020 Digital Health Research Programme, ProAct2020 (Advancing Proactive Digital Integrated Care) aims to develop and evaluate a digital integrated care system to support older adults living with multimorbidity (multiple chronic conditions). ProAct uses behavioural insights to frame, inform and guide its work, and the power of artificial intelligence to align big and small data, ensuring the identification of appropriate care interventions. It is a live and topical pilot example of the perfect storm in action.

The BLH approach: unravelling the complexity

Pharma brands can take advantage of the behavioural insights approach to meet needs and expectations of multiple stakeholders. To do this, our Insight and Customer Experience teams use their extensive experience of behavioural change in complex situations and their deep understanding of the power of insight to help pharma organisations develop strong brand strategies and plans in complex scenarios.

We use the COM-B behavioural logic model and empirical evidence from behavioural interventions to uncover the interventions that work and those that don’t.

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