Podcast: Behavioral Science: The Compass to Improve Patient Outcomes

September 4, 2019

PharmaVOICE talked to Group Associate Creative Director, Bonnie Overton, about how behavioral science is addressing some of pharma’s biggest challenges. This podcast follows Bonnie’s recognition as a PharmaVOICE 100 recipient.


Listen to the Podcast: Behavioral Science — The Compass to Improve Patient Outcomes


Here is a sampling of what Bonnie had to say:

PharmaVOICE 100 Recognition.
I try and put as much passion and energy into everything I do. So, it’s hard to even begin to explain how grateful I am to be recognized. I mean to be honest, I’m just crazy thankful to work with such a talented and smart group of people here at MicroMass and in the industry.

Patient Adherence is not the primary goal.
Patient adherence is a good thing, but I’d like to think about it as it should be positioned as a positive result of meeting unmet needs of patients. We can’t just remind or even encourage patients to take their medication, and we have to put patients first. This includes both their physical and emotional needs, and we have to consider how to best reach patients. This exciting part is just how many options we now have. We guide patients and caregivers to resources and information that can manage their needs.

Approaching Pharma Challenges.
I want my team to approach pharma challenges with an immense curiosity. The goal should be to always wonder. Questions we should ask ourselves like… What else? Can we do more? How can technology be purposeful? And for us personally, how can we apply behavioral science in innovative ways? We are pushing to develop experiences that help patients do more than just learn. We’re helping to improve patient outcomes. I mean, how cool is that?


Listen to the Podcast: Behavioral Science — The Compass to Improve Patient Outcomes


Brands Recognizing the Impact of Behavioral Science Solutions.
When deciding if a behavioral science solution is right for your brand, I think there’s 3 questions that pharma needs to consider. 

  1. Are you trying to get patients or healthcare providers to do something different?
  2. How far is the person’s current behavior from the desired behavior?
  3. Are you asking a patient or healthcare provider to do something difficult?


Get the answers to the questions.
Listen to the Podcast: Behavioral Science — The Compass to Improve Patient Outcomes


Dispelling Behavioral Science Misperceptions.
The are definitely some misperceptionsThere’s an art to applying behavioral science. Pharma marketers hear that behavioral science buzzword and think all the solutions are the same, but you know what, that’s not the case. If the solution sounds too good to be true, well it’s probably not going to work. Because the key to changing behavior is never just one thing. It takes time. It’s complex. Patients and providers have a number of barriers and perceptions about a condition or treatment and any of these things can get in the way. 

Another point is the data. A behavioral science solution should go beyond one resource. The solution should be based on multiple evidence-based solutions that are validated in a specific disease state.

Finally, is the solution too formulaic? One size doesn’t fit all, especially when it comes to patients or providers and changing behavior.  Ask yourself whether your program makes overgeneralizations or oversimplified what you’re asking. Again, health is complex, how people approach wellness is complex, but that’s where we can help. 

Helping Brands Understand Behavioral Science
To really change behavior and everything that comes with it, you have to teach patients. You have to help them build skills to do things on their own and set them up for success. And from experience, we utilize a teach-not-tell approach. 

Adopting Behavioral Science Methods
I’m happy that pharma is finally coming to the same conclusion that we share, and that’s about how evidence-based behavioral science is the best way to solve brand challenges and make an impact on patient outcomes. And you know what?… It’s never been a new idea for us because it’s at the core of what we do. I mean, we’ve been doing this for over 25 years, and I cannot share how excited I am that other people are beginning to use it too. 


Listen to the Podcast: Behavioral Science — The Compass to Improve Patient Outcomes