Encouraging HCPs to 'Stop and Think'

July 29, 2019

Kathy Moriarty, Senior Behaviorist, addresses the ingrained beliefs and behaviors of HCPs that can affect a patient’s treatment in our spotlight with Pharmaphorum. Focusing on cognitive biases and prescribing inertia, Kathy breaks down how pharmaceutical companies, HCPs, and patients can benefit from changing these behaviors.

Read the full spotlight here.

What can pharmaceutical companies do to address these barriers?

Traditional pharma marketing campaigns seek to raise awareness of unmet needs, educate on new therapeutic approaches, and position the brand to encourage produce adoption. Though these elements are necessary, knowledge is not enough to change behavior.

Why is behavioral science important? See the difference.

Pharma should recognize and address the underlying factors that influence behavior.


Cognitive Bias: 
  • Cognitive biases for HCPs are mental shortcuts, but these can often be prone to error and dogmatic thinking. These are not character flaws, we all have them, but they should be addressed and recognized in order to begin changing them.

If HCPs are encouraged by pharma companies to ‘stop and think,’ these cognitive biases can be addressed. 

Read the article.


Prescribing Inertia:
  • HCPs may fall into habits or shortcuts when making decisions about what they’re going to prescribe. Behaviors may look like, “I’ve been prescribing this medication for years, so I’m going to keep prescribing it,” or, “I know how to manage the side effects that are associated with this treatment.”

Providing experiences that allow HCPs to ‘stop and think’ can help the process of breaking prescribing inertia behavior. 

Read the article.


Addressing cognitive bias and prescribing inertia is never about a one-time interaction. Pharmaceutical companies should consider the idea of creating ongoing interactions and opportunities to change behavior. These outcomes are helpful to, not only, your brand, but to the HCP and patient.

Read the other Behavioral Science spotlights on our landing page.