16 May 2018

The Research Ripple Effect

The BHBIA’s Annual Conference did not disappoint again this year. The conference topic ‘The Ripple Effect’ got us thinking about the ways in which our research creates ripples and how they add value to research projects.

It was another great year at the BHBIA’s Annual Conference catching up with clients, old colleagues and partners. We really enjoyed seeing how presenters interpreted this year’s topic of ‘The Ripple Effect’ whether this be through supporting NHS processes, the impact of new technology on research or pro rata research informing mental health policy. The presentations got us thinking about the ripples our research creates.

The first ripple is that our research helps our clients make informed business and strategy decisions. This could be through providing direction for R&D or marketing, insight into user perceptions of a product or competitors, to inform portfolio strategy or an acquisition. However, from this commercial objective additional ripples are created.

One such ripple is the impact the client’s decision has on patients, caregivers and clinicians. In fact, healthcare professionals often opt in for research because they rightly believe their valuable insight will help to improve patient access, experience and their own clinical workflows. We find that by providing participants with a good description of the purpose of the research we can foster greater engagement in the research.

Another ripple of the research we do is the cathartic effect patients and caregivers often feel from taking part. They are given the time and space to openly talk about their disease journey, share their experience and in the case of group discussions hear about others’ experiences. As a researcher whilst these discussions provide fantastic insights we should never forget that it is a privilege that our respondents feel able to open up to us and share their experiences. Ensuring that research questions are approached in a sensitive and respectful way and that discussion guides are not overloaded giving respondents the space to explore their thoughts will facilitate richer insights and a more positive research experience for the respondent.

The process and output of market research can create multiple ripples that researchers need to be aware of and thoughtfully approach. Whilst we have highlighted the positive ripple effects we should always be mindful of the language we use during healthcare research so as not to influence clinical journeys. With that said, purposefully harnessing the power of multiple research ripples can support better research design and richer insights to help support the first ripple, our client’s core business need.