The patient’s perspective has drastically increased in value to modern healthcare. Far from being a passive recipient of care, the patient has become active and central to the process – and so has the patient voice. This is beneficial not just to the individual but also to the caregivers, drug manufacturers, and the industry in general.
Modern lifestyle and technology has certainly played an important role in amplifying patient voice. Research shows that up to 87% of social media users share their health information on the networks.
Beyond that, patients use forums, discussion boards, and other avenues to share first-hand information about their experiences.
This has resulted in an ever-growing user generated content (UGC) repository. In turn, healthcare providers (HCPs), manufacturers, and other stakeholders are investing significant resources to collect and analyze the data. The insights they gather help them understand and reach the patient as well as evaluate/improve their own methods.
This is the force behind the increasing emphasis on patient-centric approaches on data collection through direct patient feedback. Savvy HCPs apply advanced techniques to overcome the limitations of traditional methods and better understand patient voice not just in the words used but also the tone and sentiment behind.
Why is Patient Voice Important Today?
The patient perspective (patient voice) helps HCPs look at their work from the other end. But more than that, it shows the impact on individuals rather than a general overview of the population.
This is especially important today for a number of reasons. First, as health conditions stick around and develop a resistance to typical approaches, the development of more powerful treatments relies on patients speaking out.
Second, personalized care is critical to the quality of life of the patient. Legacy approaches may still work for some and not work as effectively for others. The challenge to find out where they are failing is solved when patient voice is heard.
And then, a world recovering from a pandemic hardly needs to be reminded that emerging health conditions are an ever-present threat. Getting out of the COVID-19 quagmire was, above everything, the result of patient perspectives and behaviors. Avoiding potential pandemics will depend on patient voice.
Patient voice was crucial to recovery from COVID-19.
Narrowing down, patient voice is important to the brand as it helps improve satisfaction, leading to increased revenue through repeat purchases, visits, and recommendations. This also improves resource utilization as patients with better experiences can complete their journey faster and recover with fewer subsequent complications.
The patients themselves have a great motivation to share their perspectives. During the research part of their patient journey, being vulnerable or simply asking questions can help them find better care than they would otherwise. The same goes if they are open with their caregivers during treatment.
Further, having access to other patients can be an important source of support especially if they are living with a chronic condition. Oftentimes, this is a whole different level of support than they can’t get from their family, friends, and HCPs.
Patient voice is not only an important aspect of healthcare today, it can also make the difference between healthcare brands that thrive and those that fail. To top it off, the patient is eager to make themselves heard.
This concoction is a nice shot of motivation for many HCPs to listen closely to patient voice.
Advanced Approaches to Patient Understanding
Listening closely and hearing patient voice has everything to do with the methods used. Traditionally, direct patient feedback can be gotten through methods such as surveys, questionnaires, and interviews.
However, this turns out to be less effective as a standalone approach in the modern environment. Before we find out about the advanced approaches HCPs are using to hear the patient more clearly, let’s look at the variety of sources of patient voice:
- Electronic health records (EHRs). Many HCPs have digitalized the patient’s paper chart. Primarily, the EHR allows health information to be created, managed, and shared. It is a timely, real-time, and patient-centric approach to maintain health records.
- Patient help desk. Much information can be collected from the patient conversations at the help desk whether they are just inquiring as part of their search, booking a consultation, or following up on treatment.
- Consultation notes, of course.
- Telehealth – the delivery of healthcare remotely. The increasing adoption of services, gadgets, and self-care is a great resource for HCPs. This is probably going to be a top-2 source of patient voice in the future, together with social media.
- Social media – the place where patients gather to share concerns and source solutions.
- Patient groups, whether they are platforms created specifically for patients or patients using existing platforms to carve out their own communities.
- And yes, surveys, questionnaires, web forms, emails, and interviews too.
One obvious observation is the disparity of the sources mentioned above. Each source potentially brings new data, new nuggets of information that can be used to understand the patient better.
For instance, shorthand consultation notes contain a wealth of information about the individual patient. On the other hand, a gadget may catch a lot more than the patient can ever tell the doctor. Similarly, other patients may be sharing more nuanced information with their peers on social media.
These different data sources must be brought together through advanced data analysis platforms. NetBase Quid® is built on advanced AI technology that can collect, upload, and integrate these disparate data sources.
With features such as social listening, social media monitoring, NLP sentiment analysis, Intelligence Connector, and Opus Uploads, NetBase QuidR is designed to be the central platform for HCPs seeking patient understanding in 2023 and beyond. And it’s crucial for providers to note this differentiator when source potential consumer and market research analytics vendors!
Action Steps for Improved Patient Understanding in 2023
With the goal in mind, the next step is to create a formula about how you’re going to accomplish it. Using the right suite of tools, it will be easy to listen to and understand patient voice in 2023. Here are the steps:
1. Find the conversation
The primary source of patient voice today is social media. It’s not only because a large number of patients are sharing their experiences but also because the data is freely given. Additionally, AI-based social listening can collect the data needed at scale.
Hence, social listening is a more effective way of understanding patient voice than methods such as surveys, interviews, questionnaires, and others mentioned above that solicit feedback from the patient.
These traditional methods are limited in the size of the sample, number of questions, and range of answers. On the other hand, social listening can collect information from millions of people and because the patient is not limited by questions, there is a much wider scope of information that can be gathered.
Based on finding organic online conversations, social listening allows you to find relevant conversations by filtering the results up to the standard of the study.
2. Join the conversation
While passively collecting data can reveal great insights, engaging with the audience is crucial to understanding patient voice as it not only encourages them to share but also helps them in their research when you share important information they should know on their journey.
Through social media monitoring, you are able to remain updated on the conversation so you can contribute to it as opportunity presents itself. HCPs join the conversation in various ways: Creating educational content, answering questions publicly, participating in trends, etc.
Social media monitoring also helps you understand the language used by patients so you can apply it in your content and comments.
3. Analyze the conversation
Whether you find ongoing conversations through social media monitoring or you find existing data through social listening, the conversation must be broken down through analysis. You want to know the themes in patient voice, the problems, the expectations, and even the emotions behind.
The words used can help you uncover key themes, common challenges, and patient expectations. However, uncovering the patient emotions requires a step further. Emotions are not expressed in black and white terms. For instance, sarcasm and metaphor may be totally misread by run-of-the-mill technologies.
This is where NLP sentiment analysis comes in. NLP – natural language processing – is an AI capability that breaks down natural speech to reveal the emotional drivers of the patient.
This analysis can also provide more fine-grained data on the patient experience, including best communication approach, improved prescribing behavior, and patient attitudes towards competing drugs, providers, and treatment approaches.
Your social media analytics platform should be equipped with features to help HCPs find, join, and analyze patient conversation. As this is an ongoing process, the platform should be designed with cutting-edge AI technology that maintains an autonomous discover-monitor-discover loop to keep your organization updated to the minute.
Fortune 500 companies trust us to do the heavy lifting for them, and leading healthcare organizations such as ICON are applying its capabilities to answer complex questions and develop treatments for the modern patient.
If you would like to try NetBase Quid® out and see how it could improve your practice, organization, or institution, reach out for a demo today and an expert will take you on a tour of a tailored analysis!