Asynchronous Video & The Patient Journey

2015-07-newAs researchers, we hear–and are frequently asked about–‘new’ approaches, methodologies, deliverables…and so on. I believe true innovation in research (and perhaps in most industries) comes at a glacial pace, simply because many of the tried, true and tested methods are amazing, wonderful and solid members of our research family. This is especially true in quantitative research. However, lately I have been riding a wave of new research approaches that leverage today’s technology.These are fun and exciting projects to be a part of and are offering our clients deep learning, intimate insights and the opportunity for real-time, global collaboration as a team.

This is the first in a series of blog posts about these options. Today’s topic? Asynchronous video.

Asynchronous Video

In a nutshell, asynchronous video means a moderator creates a video with questions, missions or tasks and posts it to a platform. Participants watch the moderator and post their own video response. This goes on for days or weeks, globally.

We have been using this or a variation of it for years. I remember sending VHS tapes with instructions to participants via courier, asking them to “camcord and return.”  It was quite forward thinking at the time, but it was cumbersome!  Maybe less cumbersome than the researchers who had to use hieroglyphic tablets…but still.

With the global ubiquity of mobile devices that capture video, now clever advances have made this method much easier and approachable for all involved: participants, clients and researchers. Recently at Market Strategies International, it’s come into play to better understand the journey and experiences of patients (medical studies) and customers (not always medical).

A Current Life Sciences Project

Here’s how my most recent project is working: Patients with a specific condition and product usage history participate in a global quantitative study and are asked if they are willing to opt-in to additional qualitative research. Once the appropriate participants are qualified and ready, they log in to a user-friendly, secure platform and are guided, if they need help. In the platform, they find a welcome from the moderator, who has pre-recorded a video message including an introduction and instructions for that day.

In this most recent project, we give participants a specific mission and tasks each day, for five days, that requires “show and tell.” Each day, we researchers watch and learn what has been submitted. If they are so inclined, our clients can log in, watch and let us know if a specific area needs to be explored more deeply.Transcripts happen so quickly, it’s like a superhero is involved!

Trust, Cost and Flexibility Benefits

  • Trust. One of the things I’ve always loved about the work we do is the trust our research participants put in us to hear their stories, opinions and ideas. This develops even more deeply with the benefit of time within this platform, where participants and researcher(s) engage repeatedly and trust blossoms. This is such rich work; it is truly fun and engaging for all involved.
  • Cost. Cost-wise, it’s not significantly more than other approaches and could even be less than some methods. It is also efficient time-wise and can be blended nicely with other approaches like phone interviews, quantitative surveys and online bulletin boards.
  • Flexibility. I like the flexibility of the platform for participants with health, time or physical constraints that might prevent them from agreeing to in-home/in-office ethnographies.  I hypothesize there are unique experiences or responses  from those who can’t or won’t do ‘live’ research, but are more than willing to engage this way.

Imagine conducting a quantitative survey with two separate groups: patients with cancer (and maybe caregivers, too) and treaters of cancer.

For patients, you learn a bit about them, get their attitudes, behaviors and opinions. From the quantitative survey, participants are recruited to the asynchronous video phase, where we ask them to respond to a series of questions and a show and tell of sorts. Using the example of cancer, we can have them show us the things and places in their home that cancer impacts most and, conversely, the things it impacts least. We can have them record themselves walking through their nutritional and medical routines each day, or even show us what life is like on their treatment.  For those who are willing and able, we might ask them to participate in an online bulletin board to weigh in on some messaging concepts.

For physicians, we do the same but have them give examples of what they are showing and telling patients, families, staff and insurers. They also participate in show and tell, with tours around their office or a demo of how to use specific communication tools. Along the way, you can have the moderator ask each group about what has been learned from the other group. For example:

“We heard from a group of patients and families yesterday that they don’t understand what their immunotherapy treatment does, and they aren’t comfortable asking their doctor.  We’d like to hear your response to that, so record a video as if you were giving advice to these patients about how to become better informed.”

Client Benefits

With data collection this simple, imagine the ease with which an entire global team can collaborate on insights. Because there are no challenging downloads or transfers, it’s so accessible. The video is keyword searchable, easily clipped, and the online space gives us a work space to tag insights and build stories to share with clients on the fly. And when it comes time for our clients to engage a broader internal team, this work can be used in a variety of ways…many with significant power to move people toward action.

I’m wondering what you think about this approach?  Email me to talk about how this could answer some of your business questions.

Next time:  A Luddite Talks About iBeacons.

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