The Whole Mind in Healthcare – Using Data Science To Understand Markets

Webinar

Featuring

MDRG

Description

Data lies quite often. Loaded questions, imbalanced samples, and cognitive bias can all lead data to misinform us about how we should engage and promote healthcare in our communities. We’re told to be data-driven, but without the right approaches, we could be building up heavy confidence in going the wrong path.

Sondra Brown recognized this challenge and founded MDRG in order to help leaders across healthcare and other industries break past these fallacies and distortions.

Along with Sondra, Kristy Roldan (MDRG) and our own Jenn Misora (former HCA) & Chris Hemphill discuss what’s worked & what hasn’t for data-driven, strategic healthcare decisions.

What you’ll learn from this conversation:

  • Whole Mind research approaches to understand your healthcare consumers’ needs
  • Data fallacies – when should I throw out my data?
  • Stories and studies on data-driven transformation
Sondra Brown

Sondra Brown

President & Founder
MDRG

MDRG
Kristy Roldan

Kristy Roldan

Access Director of Account Services
MDRG

MDRG
Chris Hemphill

Chris Hemphill

VP, Applied AI & Growth
Actium Health

Actium Health logo
Jenn Misora

Jenn Misora

VP Customer Succcess
Actium Health

Actium Health logo
1

Transcript


Chris Hemphill:
All right. Is this thing on? Yes. Okay. Fantastic. Hello healthcare. Hello LinkedIn. Hello YouTube. Hello everyone. We are live and we’re excited about having a conversation today. We can see that there’s more people than typical, but you’ll hear why in a minute when you hear kind of the concepts and things that we’ll be going over. And what we’ll be discussing is the whole mind approach by MDRG. And it’s an excellent panel that we have here to discuss it. On the SymphonyRM side we have Jenn Misora who has recently joined us from HCA where she led service line marketing and market research and analytics. Hey Jenn.

Jenn Misora:
Morning Chris.

Chris Hemphill:
Good morning. And on the MDRG side we have Kristy Roldan who leads customer insights at MDRG. So hey Kristy.

Kristy Roldan:
How’s it going?

Chris Hemphill:
Thank you very much. And Sondra Brown who is the founder and CEO and is very much involved in the strategy and forward movement of the research concepts. So hey Sondra.

Sondra Brown:
Good morning.

Chris Hemphill:
Good morning. So just like … hey, good morning Terry too. Shout out to Terry. Just like every conversation that we have on LinkedIn live, we have this panel together to help answer questions that you might have in your job. So it’s not just us talking. Well we’re happy to share your comments and your stories and your questions. So please feel free, if you have any questions or if there are stories that you want to share, this is a conversation. We’ve had a lot of people meet other people, not even presenting, but meet others just during these conversations. So with that said, welcome to the conversation. Let us know what you’re thinking, let us know where you’re from, and we’ll just go ahead and get started.
So with MDRG this whole mind concept, I’ve had the pleasure of having some conversations, reading a lot of your material, but I want to help everybody. Sondra, we have a diverse audience that comes here. A lot of times there are folks involved on the marketing side of the house, but also on the population health, operations, and IT side of the house too. So to help us get down to basics, could you just share with us why you founded MDRG and kind of the gap that you were focused on and some basics in market research that’ll help everybody kind of understand where you’re coming from in this conversation?

Sondra Brown:
Absolutely. The short answer to that is I am in love with consumer insights and in love with healthcare. The longer answer to that is I really wanted to take what we do in market research and really make sure that we were collecting data in a way that really empowered people to impact brands for the better. I mean, that’s really what drives our DNA here at MDRG. So we start with, what does success look like to the client and then make sure that the research and insights that we’re delivering is really helping to move that company forward. What is interesting though over those years is that the gaps really have changed. 25 years ago it would have been, how do we tell the story of the data and not just report facts and figures because that’s not helpful from an insights perspective.
So that’s still something we do. But I would say in the last five to 10 years, there’s been so much we’ve learned about how consumers make decisions. And when I talk about consumers, it’s B2B, B2C, we’re all consumers. And that is that. And those learnings have come out of behavioral economics and the idea that the majority of our decision-making is largely non-conscious, emotion-based, feelings-based, or just these automatic responses that we make. And yet so much of the research that we’ve conducted over the years has been tapping into this other side of the brain, this very rational side of the brain. And so if we at MDRG and the work that we do with our clients and our promise to clients is really to deliver consumer insights, we needed to understand both the conscious and the non-conscious, both the emotional plus the rational.
And so that’s where we came to this whole mind approach. It’s our trademarked approach to market research, but in a nutshell, it’s the idea that every time we go into a study for clients, we are designing it in a way that really taps into both systems at play. It’s called system one and system two. But really the idea is that research, in order to be valuable, needs to reflect the entirety of that consumer decision-making, the rational, the emotional, the non-conscious, the stated, and the behavioral. And there’s lots of fancy ways that we get at that, but that’s, I would argue, is really one of the biggest gaps that’s driven MDRG. I think in the past year I would argue that another one that’s really driving us, and I think Kristy might talk about this later, is the gaps in data collection from an equity standpoint. And that has been something that we at MDRG have taken very seriously because I don’t need to explain to everybody why that’s important, but that has really been driving a lot of the conversations and changes that we’ve been making in the last 12 to 18 months.

Chris Hemphill:
And that’s exciting to hear and I’m really interested in getting deeper into the equity conversation. I think that’s been a lot more on people’s minds lately and it’s a much bigger focus than it has been in the past and there’s a lot of data that supports focusing on healthcare equity challenges. There’s financial justification for that as well, which often is needed to justify some of the investments in those areas. Just getting a little bit more curious though on the focus in the healthcare domain. When you talk about that this whole mind approach, could you kind of explain that from a healthcare context? It makes sense from the general view, but curious about the kinds of insights and the kinds of decisions that you might be supporting from a healthcare perspective.

Sondra Brown:
Definitely. Now if I think about healthcare, let me just tell you, I started my career in financial services and then transferred over to healthcare. And I would argue that both of those are very similar from the respect of what I’m about to talk about. And that is that it’s very difficult for consumers to articulate how they feel about providers and about systems and about payers and I would argue even health tech because it’s a complicated category and it’s difficult to understand brand differentiation. It’s difficult for consumers, even someone like me who’s been in this space for a long time, to understand the products that we offer and we do offer products.
And healthcare is inherently a category that is difficult to objectively evaluate. And so going back to that conversation that we had a minute ago about behavioral economics and to tell us that a lot of those decisions that we make are non-conscious or they’re emotional or they’re these automatic decisions or they’re based on things that we’re not evaluating as professionals in the healthcare space. We need to really understand those decisions and how do we connect to consumers so that we can better connect our brand.
We can message better. We can deliver products and services in a way that consumers are going to engage with. Think about some of the digital medicine tools that we’re out there with right now. Engagement is really going to be critical, but it’s not going to be based on sort of these rational decisions. And so if we think about that in the healthcare space, it’s really important that we understand this non-conscious side of the brain, these emotions, these feelings, and if we’re going to really connect to consumers and we’re really going to get our brands in front of the consumer, we’re going to have to figure out how do we create that emotional connection in order to connect from a brand experience, but I would also argue in order to provide stellar customer experience. Jenn and I, and Kristy and Chris were talking about what does quality mean?
And the way that we define that on the payer side, the provider side, is very, very different than the way that consumers evaluate, in air quotes, quality. So this phenomenon of really understanding this system one, this non-conscious is huge for healthcare and we need to get consumers to a point where they can really trust providers, where they can feel good about the providers and those aren’t inherently rational decisions. So we really need to speak the language of the consumer and we need to speak to their heart if we’re going to be able to connect to them and then make a difference in their lives from a healthcare perspective.

Jenn Misora:
Yeah. That is such an interesting insight Sondra and I know we were talking about kind of what consumers say, but what they really mean.
And I don’t know about all of you, but one of the things that I think we hear a lot in healthcare is, “Well healthcare consumers are different,” or, “Healthcare has gotten a pass for a really long time because it was a service that people needed.” And in the past maybe there wasn’t as much choice. So Kristy, I don’t know, I know you lead a lot of the market research and some of the consumer insights. What would you say to that, that statement, “Healthcare consumers are different or we don’t have to treat them the same or care about what they think as much as we should in retail or finance or something like that.”

Kristy Roldan:
I would say a couple things to that. That’s an interesting way to look at it. I would say, going back to Sondra’s point and some of our conversations earlier, we’re all emotionally driven in our decision-making. So getting back to this idea that if we think that finance or healthcare is some kind of utility or some kind of like commoditized decision, I would argue that it’s not, but switching gears a little bit, if you think about the products and services and brands that are coming online in the healthcare space, think about like the Amazons and Wal-Mart and places that are coming into play, they’re very much paying attention to the emotional lens of consumers and really tapping into ideas like convenience and how to serve people personalization and how to serve people in a way that’s driving meaning for them. So there’s a lot more brands that are paying attention and being active in this space and they’re really tapping into the emotions and the non-conscious of consumers in order to create a winning value proposition.

Jenn Misora:
Yeah. That is so true. I love what you said about healthcare or finance being a utility. It’s not. These are emotional decisions consumers are making about their health. And I think none more so than over the past year with COVID. All of the sudden maybe you’d been able to avoid your primary care physician or interacting with the healthcare system for a very long time. And now all of the sudden it’s in the news every day. The healthcare system, what’s going on with COVID. And I know you all lead a lot of research there around just the vaccine and some of that. So Sondra, I wanted to open it back up to you to talk a little bit about what you’re doing in that space and some of the insights that you’re seeing come out of that.

Sondra Brown:
Sure. And I’ll tag team this one with Kristy a bit.

Jenn Misora:
Sure.

Sondra Brown:
We have done a lot of work around vaccine adoption, who is hesitant to take the vaccine? What are their motivators? What are the messages that would resonate? And a lot of that work has used a technique called [Omet 00:13:12] and it’s the idea that if we want to get people to bypass that rational part of the brain in market research, we need to not start with language based questions because inherently that’s a rational part of the brain. And so what Omet does is it allows you to ask a question and they answer it by selecting an image, that they cannot make a literal connection to your question.
And from there Omet theory, and I won’t get into all of the nuances of that. We don’t really have time to get into that, but the idea is that we then ask them to describe the image and then tie it back to the original question. And the analysis is where the magic happens where we began to really understand what are those underlying emotional themes, if you will, that then becomes sort of the building block for, whether it’s a messaging connection or a brand connection, to the consumer and Kristy has led a bit of that work. And so Kristy, what would you add in terms of what we’ve really learned around vaccine hesitancy?

Kristy Roldan:
Yeah. It’s definitely interesting. We started this tracker a year ago at this time with the understanding that, “Okay. So everything’s shut down. We can either sit on our hands right now and do nothing or we can provide a service to our clients and help them understand the consumer landscape because all the balls were thrown up in the air.” I would argue that consumer behavior has never been in such a state of upheaval than over the past year. So we were tracking people throughout the course of 2020 and even today around a number of areas. Travel, the economy, and healthcare specifically. And as the vaccine was coming online, it was becoming more and more topical. And we tried to really narrow down to an audience that would be fruitful for us.
So we had this big group of people that were in tenders and we knew that they were going to go out right away and get the vaccine. So not a lot of heavy lifting needs to be done there. We just need to nudge them off the couch. Nothing really too major. And then we had this other group that was, “I’m not going to get it. It doesn’t matter what you tell me.” And so, “Okay. We’re going to sit you down for a minute. We’re not going to try and force your hand,” but there’s this middle group that’s this hesitator group. And that’s who we did the online metaphor analysis with and they were really interesting because some of the images that they would select were images about like people going through a maze or people feeling like their hand was being forced into something.
And the larger message there being that they just really felt this level of uncertainty and not knowing and I don’t think that that’s that different than the COVID disease itself, the COVID infection itself. I think that we’ve been learning information like this. And if I think back to last year at this time, we weren’t even wearing masks. Like that’s how quick this information has been changing and switching gears. So people, rightfully so, are confused and this hesitator group was really showing us that through online metaphor elicitation. And then what we did in the tracker was we converted some of our questions into messaging statements and tried to see what would really move them to take action. And what we found out was some of their barriers, I don’t think that this is surprising at all, but some of their barriers were about short and long-term side effects.
They just didn’t know what to expect. And so knowing that, we put some messages in front of them about vaccines providing a way to get back out into normal life or vaccines providing a way to get back together with family and friends. And that sort of positive messaging really moved the needle among this group of hesitators. They want to return to something that looks like what they experienced a year and a couple months ago. And that really gets them out of this like being jangled up about getting a vaccine and the uncertainty around that. The other thing that’s interesting is if you think about it like a marketing funnel, this hesitator group is really in the middle. So it’s not really time to nudge them off the couch yet. It’s really time to educate them and have informational conversations. It’s not getting to a negative space and it becoming some sort of blame game is not going to deliver the results that you’re hoping for. Really engaging in meaningful informational conversations is what going to help move these people into action.

Chris Hemphill:
So it’s really exciting to hear about that whole mind context and kind of the data collection, but then how it’s used to identify where there might be potential movement, where there might be the possibility to influence people. I’m curious, so one thing that we did on our write-up was there’s a quote a lot of people say. They say that, “The data never lies.” We took the opposite approach. We said, “The data lies all the time.” So just with regards to how this information is collected, how people are responding to this image type response that you’re looking at, what are the tells and what are the cues? How do you ultimately suss out that these people do in fact belong in this hesitator group? Just how are you asking these questions and going through this data process to come up with some certainty that people belong in various categories and such?

Kristy Roldan:
I do think it has to be a mix. Like we have to give them some easy to answer questions about … I mean, it’s very easy to ask people just rationally like, “Do you plan on getting a vaccine?” If they say no, the answer is no. I mean, I don’t think that there’s a lot of doubt, but I think that people, if you put together the mix of, “I want to spend time with my family and friends or I’d like to get back to doing things or I like going to see live concerts,” you name it, those sorts of things. If you mix that sort of element with not no, it doesn’t have to be definitely yes, but just not a no, you can start to form this group that’s what is the right levers that we have to push that are going to make you feel good about this?
The other thing that we’ve talked about quite a bit is in this conversation, these difficult conversations that we have to engage in, in order to try and move people to getting a vaccine, some of the information sometimes is just that it’s completely understandable to not know what the vaccine is going to do or to have some reluctancy about that, but we’ve seen what COVID can do and that’s pretty bad. So I think being able to switch gears has also proved to be something among this hesitator group that drives the little bit of motivation there. But definitely getting back to your original question, a mixture of this system one, this non-conscious, but with screening people out that are definite nos I think creates this nice hesitator mix that we’re looking to understand what messages motivate them.

Jenn Misora:
Yeah Kristy. It’s really interesting that you’re talking about the messaging and the motivation because one of the things that we’ve talked about, even with you all before this, is that equity in care and inequity in care, I think that’s been very strong during COVID, especially thinking about how are we making sure that everybody’s getting the messages? How are we making sure that everybody’s getting access to the healthcare that they need? I don’t think we’re going to solve all the problems in healthcare today, but maybe Sondra, turning it back over to you, how do we start to use the research and the data that’s collected to address these issues around inequity of care? I know I see in the chat here there’s a suggestion around, “Hey. Let’s just start by connecting all the EMRs.”
That’s a great first step. That’s a major problem in understanding how somebody is moving or not moving throughout a system, but how do we take all this data that we have and start to address these challenges?

Sondra Brown:
That’s right. So I think that there’s kind of two parts to my answer. One is just to acknowledge that we do have so much data in healthcare and what we need to do, whether it’s to address issues of inequity, which is huge and we’re doing a lot of work in that space for clients, but just in general to think more strategically, we really need to integrate those multiple sources of data to create a more holistic perspective. And really thinking about this idea of, and this is very much part of what whole mind is about, is what people say post what they do.
So we know a lot about what people do in healthcare from big data. We have an understanding of we’re working with a client right now on cancer services and we’re looking at out migration patterns. We have a lot of utilization data. Whether you’re on the marketing side, we know a lot about how people behave online. So how do we integrate those data sources into primary data, consumer insight data, that gives us a more holistic picture? With respect to the equity issue, I think that there’s so many layers to how we begin to unpack that within healthcare, just simply within the market research space though, and I think I, again, I talked about it, we are working really hard to make sure that we’re not, what we call whitewash the data, which is basically when we go out to like general population samples, we are grossly underestimating the experiences and opinions of black Americans and Latin X Americans.
And what we do know from our work, from a lot of third party data, is that those experiences are vastly different and COVID is certainly, even if we just talk about the vaccine, we’ve seen that in huge ways. So how do we really begin to supplement sample and make sure that we’re always looking at those experiences differently? That’s one of the ways that we’re doing that here. I know some of our clients and some of the work that we’re doing with those clients is really looking at how do we create healthcare experiences and bring healthcare into their communities and what are the experiences and the expectations of various economic or any other group? And they’re very, very different. So those experiences need to be designed differently and the vaccine is a perfect example of that.

Chris Hemphill:
So [inaudible 00:25:55] Sorry. I’m getting feedback here. One second. Okay. I shouldn’t be getting feedback anymore, but yeah. When you go into the differences in experiences between white populations, black populations, and Latin X populations, what are some of the methods that you’re doing to kind of [inaudible 00:26:15] those differences in experiences or what are some of the differences that you’ve seen and measured that might’ve even been surprising as you go down this health equity journey?

Sondra Brown:
Kristy, I’m going to let you take this one.

Kristy Roldan:
Sure. So I’m going to point to an example that’s been really interesting. We have a client right now that’s a major health system and they have been going through a journey of building community health centers throughout their entire region and they’re going step by step. What they’re doing, and while the idea of community health centers I don’t think is new, I think there’s a lot of major metropolitan areas that have implemented that. What is interesting that they are doing is they are going community by community and having conversations with members of those communities that are typically harder to reach.
Perhaps English isn’t their first language or perhaps technology is an issue, I’m making it up, but they’re going and having individual conversations with members of the community where that health center plans to exist in the future and trying to think about, “What are the barriers that these specific groups are facing in their pursuit of health care? How can we overcome them? How can we optimize this health center to make sure it’s delivering the needs of that specific community?” And I just think that that’s a different approach kind of boots on the ground would be an oversimplification, but just that idea, I think, is very rich in getting direct feedback and not relying on a huge data sample or a huge panel to deliver some kind of insight that may potentially have a bias.

Jenn Misora:
Yeah. And Kristy, one of the things that’s always interesting, and I’m sure you know this better than anybody, when we’re looking at data is the types of people who might respond to a survey or typical market research are not the same kinds of people that we want to be going out and actually speaking with. And so you’re right. There is that kind of inherent bias in just relying too much and not going into the community to start speaking with people who will be affected by something.

Kristy Roldan:
Exactly.

Chris Hemphill:
Yeah. And I can echo that sentiment is that like receiving a survey and responding to that in a particular way, it’s going to be a very different experience than actually talking with someone. Like sometimes a conversation flows in a much different way than you would predict in a set of questions. And like just through this conventional means and taking into account that some people are going to respond to a survey in a certain way. It is very interesting to hear about being out in the community and having actual conversations and rolling that back into the feedback to drive data-driven decisions. So the worst part of the conversation, it’s always the end, right, because we’re at that 30 minute mark, but it’s been extremely engaging.
Like there’s a tremendous following out here watching. I mean, I know Kristy and Sondra and Jenn, I know that you didn’t just take this … like hopefully it was fun, but you didn’t take this 30 minutes out of your day for fun. There’s perhaps a message or something that you’d like for people to be able to take away from this conversation. So just going around the horn, maybe we can start with you Kristy. Just any kind of final thoughts or anything that you’d like for people to take away as they reflect on the past week and go into the weekend.

Kristy Roldan:
Okay. I would say that the voice of the consumer continues to be a vital part and I think that that has been awoken even further over the course of this pandemic, but keeping eyes squarely focused on the voice of the consumer is going to be an integral part of healthcare conversations going forward.

Chris Hemphill:
And love hearing that. Your thought Sondra?

Sondra Brown:
Sure. I would suggest that you really think about how do you integrate insights strategically across the organization and early in the process. And certainly we learned the importance of that during this pandemic, but really thinking more holistically about the consumer as Kristy said, but also thinking about how can you implement those within the organization and share those learnings out within the organization.

Chris Hemphill:
And Jenn.

Jenn Misora:
I would say that in healthcare we tend to be really close to what we do and we tend to think that we understand the experience, but the experience we have in knowing people who work in hospitals and healthcare systems or the way we might even be able to get an appointment is not the way that the average person moves throughout the healthcare system. So my big ask of healthcare executives and people is listen to those consumers and listen to what they’re saying to you, even if it feels like, “But that’s not true. That’s not the experience I have.” Really taking that understanding that those of us who work within healthcare and have been in healthcare a long time, have a vastly, vastly different experience from the average consumer moving through the system.

Chris Hemphill:
Thank you. And I’ll share one too and it kind of came up during this conversation, but just the idea that what was brought up earlier around the consumer experience, like for whatever reason, healthcare system looking at a consumer differently than any other industry would. As a consumer, I’m the same person no matter what industry I’m interacting with. And when it comes to the type of experience I expect out of healthcare, there’s no expectation that, “Oh, it’s just healthcare. I’m supposed to get a lower quality experience.”
And this is based on a webinar that we did last week concerning Wal-Mart health, Walgreens, CVS. Now we’re starting to see massive investment from other industries that see this consumer experience challenge, that kind of see this kind of lowered expectation as actually a gap. And they’re investing heavily into delivering some of the things that we talked about earlier around convenience and different peoples expectations of quality, the different definitions of quality, are kind of defined by the convenience and the friendliness that they experience from those other industries.
I think that the era of treating the consumer experience is kind of a second hand fiddle is going to come to an end because now what’s going to happen is that these organizations are going to force these convenience and no me type experiences and contextual type experiences to where that will … like right now it’s kind of in a newer phases, but I think that’s going to go into more mainstream adoption of high-end consumer experiences in healthcare. Speculation of course, but it’s kind of just my perspective based on this conversation and seeing what these other players are doing.
But again, thank everybody for hanging out with us a little bit past the 30 minute mark and we’ll actually be going deeper, like on this consumer experience concept, we’ll be going a little bit deeper on that next week. We have Carrie Liken from Yext. She’s the head of healthcare services at Yext and our CEO, Mike Leonard, who brings in experiences from telecom, from finance, and from other consumer experience focused industries. And we’ll actually be talking about how to invest in these consumer experiences, how to focus on lifetime value. But if I was actually thinking ahead, if I had to go back, this conversation is, like when we were talking about how to invest in the consumer experience, understanding that market research, understanding the whole mind, the system one and system two aspects that we discussed today, that’s very much part of that future conversation and I just want to give a big thank you for you guys for taking some time to chat with us and our audience.

Sondra Brown:
Definitely. And I just wanted to offer to anyone who’s interested. Our next tracker is being released next week. I’ll put something in the LinkedIn invite, but if you want to reach out to me, I am more than happy to share those results with you and it’s a lot of things that Kristy was talking about.

Chris Hemphill:
Excellent. And Sondra, as that comes out, I’d ask you to also put that in the actual event that people are watching from right now and that way people will have access, free education resource on COVID response. It’ll show up in everybody’s notification. So-

Sondra Brown:
Great.

Chris Hemphill:
Appreciate you sharing that resource with our audience too. And with that we are signing out. So thank you everybody. Hope this has been a good break from kind of the fast paced and turmoil of the week and hope that we’re getting set up for a good weekend.

Sondra Brown:
Thank you.

Chris Hemphill:
Thank you.

Kristy Roldan:
Thanks everyone.

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