Improving health through research with impact

Date of publication: September 26, 2008


Over the past two decades clinical researchers have increasingly acknowledged the importance of their patients' attitudes in determining the outcomes of the therapies they use to treat those patients. The careful development of research surveys and their application in the clinical environment has shown that, following a heart attack, patients' perception of their illness is a better predictor of the time it will take them to return to work than blood tests. Or, that patients who are 'autonomously motivated' (have an internal locus of control) achieve better blood glucose control among patients being treated for diabetes and have higher attendance rates and better clinical outcomes in smoking cessation and weight loss programs. These and numerous other improved outcomes are ascribed to the behavior of the patients. Given the growth and forecast growth in health and healthcare as both a social issue and a market, being able to deploy a standardized psychometric instrument that can predict those who are more or less likely to behave in a certain way is attractive. Being able to understand how to communicate with them most effectively and efficiently is very attractive. We have set out to develop such an instrument. In our presentation, we will describe: An extensive search of the clinical medical literature which revealed a number of different surveys measuring different patient attributes in different clinical contexts. The integration of these surveys into a single cohesive survey using marketing research techniques that was then conducted online with over 9,000 respondents, primarily in Australia Factor analysis resulting in the development of eight categorical combinations (profiles) of health and treatment-seeking attitudes and behaviour The psychographics of these eight different profiles and their prevalence among healthy individuals (including a breakdown by standard demographics) and those being treated for various illnesses Visual summary devices have been developed (HEALTHimals) to communicate the essential features of each profile What are the views of a senior Canadian client (Jim Irving, Director of Corporate Affairs Johnson & Johnson Medical Products) on the impact of research on their business

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