By Emma Garside, GKA
April 5, 2017
As with many other areas in our lives, technology has had a seismic impact on both the quantity and quality of information we can now access via patient market research. Thanks to personal technology such as smartwatches, fitness trackers and video cameras, researchers now have more options for data collection than ever before. As opposed to traditional methods, today’s researchers can access targeted patients across the globe, instantly. And thanks to new and constantly improving software, all this data can be collected and analysed right away, empowering businesses to stay ahead of the competition and make informed decisions, fast.
So, if you’ve not considered using personal tech in your patient market research before - or if you’re looking to expand how you use it – read on to discover five important ways technology can revolutionise the information you access.
1. Smart Watches
Tech within smartwatches is becoming more advanced with every new release. So no matter what type or brand your patient has, smartwatches can open the door to unprecedented levels of insightful data. Not only are many of them able to monitor medical data such as heart rate, but they also give patients the option to record audio or video, take photos, communicate directly with researchers and reveal their GPS location. This in turn gives researchers the ability to collect information such as patients’ activities and feelings, remotely and in real time, which can then be used as a basis of a conversation later in the research project.
2. Fitness trackers
Fitness trackers were specifically created to give users direct and instant access to their own medical and fitness-related data - and consequently, they also offer the same opportunity for researchers to dive into the patient’s world. So whether you’re monitoring patients’ blood pressure, sleeping patterns or heart rates, fitness trackers enable researchers to easily track and collect medical data as well as related data such as anxiety levels or how strenuous certain activities are and what improvements could be made to help patients cope.
3. Video cameras
Ten years ago, an ethnography project would have been impossible without several large, expensive and intrusive cameras positioned within a patient’s home. But with the advances in wearable cameras such as Go Pros, participants themselves can become the researcher, providing just as much (if not more) information as a traditional ethnography project by wearing head or body-mounted units that record live video or audio streams for real time analysis. What’s more, because they’ll be delivering data in a way that doesn’t interrupt their daily routine, it’s likely make your mobile ethnography study even more insightful.
4. Market research online community platforms
Private platforms such as market research online communities offer researchers the next best thing to being by a patient’s side. Not only do research communities allow researchers to build relationships with potentially hard to reach patients without any kind of observer influence or bias, but they also act as a support system for the patients, giving them the chance to speak to people dealing with the same challenges as they are – resulting in a thriving, engaged community that delivers unbeatable insights. By asking patients to carry out specific tasks such as blogging about their life and how their condition affects them, recording video diaries explaining how they take their medication or explaining how treatment makes them feel and how their day-to-day lives could be improved, researchers can easily access rich and insightful information. What’s more, all the data is collected in real time, enabling researchers to quickly and simply analyse it to create heat maps and word clouds or export transcripts.
Finally, although advances in neuroscience may be less accessible to participants in their day-to-day lives, they offer researchers huge advantages in the scope and accuracy of data they can obtain. By using advances in fields such as eye or heart rate tracking or facial coding, researchers can unlock how people respond to anything from advertising materials and patient information leaflets to products and packaging designs. What’s more, neuroscience can also look beyond any inaccurate or misleading answers given through fear or embarrassment of giving the ‘wrong’ answer, digging deeper to access the facts needed to develop truly insightful research.
These five points are only just scratching the surface when it comes to technology and patient market research, so if you’d like to know more, download our guide to mobile qual.