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A Patient-Centric Listening Platform

‘inVibing’ qualitative research to alleviate logistical and emotional patient burdens

By Janine Karo

Tue Aug 30 2022

In February, the FDA released "Patient-Focused Drug Development: Methods to Identify What Is Important to Patients" as its second in a series of four guidance documents about incorporating patient voice into the drug development process. The resource highlights the benefits and drawbacks of various qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method research types. In response, Head of Client Services, Adam Kleger, wrote about how inVibe supports and enhances this mission of listening to patients with our proprietary Listening Platform, enabling clients to gather deep and nuanced qualitative insights with the efficiency and scalability of quantitative research.

Another key takeaway from this guidance is the need to alleviate the research participation burden on respondents. While hearing patient voices is essential to the drug development process, patients may be deterred from participating in research activities if the requirements are particularly cumbersome. To that end, research should be as easy and unobtrusive as possible to encourage engagement. Fortunately, the inVibe platform is the perfect tool for capturing the patient voice conveniently and confidentially.

The Speedy Solution

Collecting rich qualitative data appears to be a fundamentally inconvenient endeavor for all parties, particularly patients. From the administrative perspective, traditional qualitative methods require finding a time that works for multiple parties, one-on-one in-depth interviews, or a focus group. Once the headache of setting a time is taken care of, patients must plan around this event, which can interfere with competing priorities. Then, they may have to travel to a location for an in-person engagement. Finally, the actual interview takes time, perhaps an hour or so. Hence, a "one-hour interview" can quickly require a more significant time investment and cause more inconvenience than initially indicated.

With the asynchronous inVibe approach, much of the logistical burden disappears. The prompts are pre-recorded and programmed into the voice response study on our platform. Therefore, patients must call in, listen to the prompts being read, and record their answers, like leaving a voicemail. Since it's not a live interview, patients can participate whenever and wherever they please. Whether it's more convenient for them to call from the bleachers of their kid's softball practice on a Saturday afternoon or their living room couch on a Tuesday evening, or if they felt too tired on Sunday morning but ready to call in on Monday morning, inVibe allows patients the flexibility to join a market research engagement on their terms and when they feel up to it.

Furthermore, the asynchronous inVibe platform saves patients time with our designed automated prompts. Since we don't "probe" as an interviewer would, we combine a couple of similar questions into one prompt, encouraging patients to elaborate on their own. Therefore, instead of having an interview that chips away at eight topics over an hour, each of our eight prompts immediately goes deep, leading respondents to answer all eight prompts in a matter of 15-20 minutes on average. Manager Tripp Maloney explains in a recent blog that asking just eight targeted prompts concisely captures a breadth and depth of insights while avoiding respondent fatigue.

But don't just take our (written) word for it! Earlier this year, inVibe conducted a study among patients, caregivers, and HCPs comparing inVibe's voice response studies to traditional moderated in-depth interviews. We heard across stakeholders that they prefer our platform for how it facilitates easy and quick participation. In the video below, listen to one patient and one HCP reflect on how convenient it is.

The Unobtrusive Observer

Besides the time pressures in traditional qualitative research, there can also be an emotional burden when discussing sensitive subjects face-to-face with strangers. For example, medical history is often very personal, so asking patients to be vulnerable about the journey to diagnosis or what a bad day looks like with their condition can be fraught. Moreover, fearing judgment from interviewers or focus group attendees, patients may withhold information, painting only a limited picture of their experience. Conversely, we know from previous research that patients are more willing to speak about "embarrassing" topics on social media (Facebook, forums, etc.) than through traditional methods; the anonymity afforded by such platforms makes it easier to share specific intimate details.

inVibe's asynchronous platform solves this trade-off between collecting sensitive voice data and maintaining patient comfort by enabling patients to participate anonymously. When they call in, they do not see or speak to anyone. The recording patients listen to for each question is the only voice, and we only collect audio recordings in their responses. There is no interviewer they interact with in live time; it's just them, and they have all the time they need to answer the prompts without interruption. In addition, patients don't have to worry about a moderator's or fellow panelist's disapproving reaction, so they can speak freely without judgment. While opening up about challenging topics may never be easy, the inVibe approach works to remove common barriers that inhibit honest communication.

Listen to the video below to hear a couple of patients explain how speaking to a recorded voice is more comfortable than a moderator, reducing self-consciousness and vulnerability.

Easy Listening with inVibe

At inVibe, understanding the patient voice is at the heart of what we do. Our asynchronous Listening Platform makes it logistically and emotionally more accessible for patients to speak with us about their experiences. Collecting rich data while avoiding friction points familiar with traditional qualitative methodology enables us to deliver deep insights with low impact on patients' daily lives, just as the FDA advises. Are you interested in seeing it for yourself? Schedule a demo with us today!

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