Improve Patient Care Outcomes with Qualitative Research

Healthcare payers can improve their care outcomes through scalable, agile qualitative research. Find out more.

Author

Shireen Noushad

Date

August 3, 2023

The need for qualitative research in healthcare is not going away any time soon. However, the traditional way of conducting qualitative research will soon be redundant owing to automated research platforms.  

In this article, we shall look at how healthcare payers can improve their care outcomes through scalable qualitative research. We shall also look at a few roadblocks plaguing the existing research process, and how they can be fixed. Let’s dive in.  

Qualitative Research in Healthcare  

“Qualitative research involves broadly stated questions about human experiences and realities, studied through sustained contact with the individual in their natural environments and producing rich, descriptive data that will help us to understand those individual's experiences.”

  • Patricia Munhall, Author of Nursing Research: A Qualitative Perspective.

In healthcare, qualitative research is about collecting individual perspectives to understand patient and provider preferences and draw conclusions. Interviews, focus groups, and observations are few of the methods used by healthcare researchers. It uncovers patient priorities and experiences to help payers continuously improve on their offerings.  

Have a look: Optimizing Patient Experience and Patient-centric Care through NPS

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Importance of Qualitative Research in Healthcare  

In-depth Understanding of Patient Perspectives

Qualitative research is a useful tool in the healthcare industry for examining the intricacies of patient experiences. It helps to improve the standard of care and the efficiency of healthcare services.  

Firsthand Documentation of Patient Experiences

One of the primary benefits of qualitative research is the ability to record patient experiences in their own words. The thoughts, feelings, and narratives of patients can be directly accessed by healthcare professionals through focus groups, interviews and open-ended surveys. This close-knit method makes it easier to establish a stronger bond with patients, which results in a more accurate portrayal of their realities.

Detecting Common Concerns and Desires

identifying recurrent problematic themes among patients is made possible through qualitative research. Healthcare payer organizations can identify common worries, aspirations, and expectations about the standard of services. These recurring themes serve as the foundation for focused interventions and improvements when it comes to optimizing insurance policies.  

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Improving Healthcare Services and Quality

As mentioned previously, qualitative research highlights the potential improvement routes for healthcare payers. Payers can tap into patient recommendations through various qualitative research methods. These recommendations stem from the frustrations of actual patients. They offer insightful information that might have been overlooked when using only quantitative measures. These recommendations can influence positive changes at various touchpoints of the patient journey, from streamlining appointment scheduling to improving discharge procedures.

Information about what matters most to patients

Access to patients' fundamental values and priorities is at the core of qualitative research. This understanding goes beyond claim submissions, and clinical results, and encompasses patient experience in general. It also covers the effectiveness of communication, be it through SMS, e-mails, or phone calls. Armed with this information, healthcare payer organisations can tailor their offerings to patient needs, fostering a sense of belonging and care for their patients.  

The opportunity to identify obstacles to growth and change

In addition to highlighting achievements, qualitative research reveals problems and obstacles that patients in the healthcare system face. These challenges may include poor communication or complicated logistics. Whatever it may be, understanding these obstacles, empowers payers to plan and carry out focused interventions. This promotes growth and transformative change.  

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Challenges with Qualitative Research in Healthcare

Time-Consuming Process

Qualitative research requires more time for in-depth analysis than quantitative methods. It takes careful planning, prioritization, and execution to conduct interviews, focus groups, and observations.  Payers have to identify their target group, invite them for the interviews, and moderate the sessions. Post-discussion, there’s coding, categorization, and interpretation of the transcriptions. This lengthy process is a problem, particularly in healthcare settings where prompt decision-making is essential for good care outcomes.  

Feedback Collection & Analysis

It can be difficult and time-consuming to gather and analyse feedback from interview transcriptions. Asking the right questions often makes all the difference. During the discussions, the moderator needs to have a direction to lead the participants. Post-discussion, the transcriptions have to be vetted, tagged and coding for further analysis. Researchers may encounter difficulties in bucketing the feedback correctly, leading to poor analysis and therefore poor research outcomes. Feedback collection and analysis is crucial and one of the most challenging parts of a qualitative research process.  

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Credibility of Feedback

The validity and authenticity of participant feedback are crucial for qualitative research. There are times when it can be difficult to strike a balance between the need for frank criticism and ethical issues and privacy worries. Researchers must approach healthcare qualitative research with sensitivity in order to navigate privacy concerns. It can be difficult to ensure that the feedback accurately reflects the variety of patient experiences and is not biased.  

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Streamlining Qualitative Research in Healthcare with an Automated Qualitative Research Platform

Agile Research Platform for Efficiency

An important step towards accelerating the research process in healthcare is the adoptions of an automated qualitative research platform. A platform simplifies the qualitative research process by automating the grunt work. It expedites study design, participant recruitment, data collection, and analysis, which significantly reduces time and effort. Researchers can now focus on gaining useful insights from the analyzed data. Since healthcare environments are dynamic, this agility equips medical professionals to act quickly and with knowledge backed by actionable insights.  

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Enhanced Data Collection and Analysis

The cutting-edge capabilities that come with an automated research platform redefine the effectiveness of data collection and analysis. Scouting for participants as well as discussion engagement is made easier through panel integrations. Researchers can participate remotely while maintaining the depth of face-to-face conversations. Automated qualitative research platforms come with live conversation support and even integrations with top video conferencing tools. This preserves the authenticity of interactions. By quickly transforming spoken content into data that can be analysed, platforms are reducing the burdens associated with manual transcription. Automated transcriptions are here to stay. There is also the added bonus of translation vendor integrations – this means payers can interview patients across demographics.  

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Voice AI for Deeper Understanding

Voice AI technology in qualitative research is a breakthrough. Researchers can go beyond verbal responses by using facial coding and sentiment analysis. The credibility of the insights gathered are much higher thanks to Voice AI’s ability to recognise emotional nuance. The platform offers a more comprehensive view of patient experiences by identifying underlying sentiments and enhancing qualitative analysis with emotionally driven data.  

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Improving Patient Care Outcomes with Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is a potent tool to improve care outcomes by developing a thorough understanding of patient experiences, preferences, and barriers. It offers practical insights that can have a positive impact on patient care by examining various aspects of healthcare delivery.

Investigating Adherence and Compliance

Investigating medical adherence is when payers look into how patients are following the medications and lifestyle modifications prescribed by the providers. While investigating compliance is about investigating providers on how compliant they are with their drug and regimen prescriptions.  

Conducting qualitative research studies with patients can unlock insights into both verticals. This way payers can organize interventions for their patient to improve their adherence to medication, in order to improve care outcomes. Payers can also modify or discard provider contracts based on how compliant providers are with the insurance policies.  

Exploring Diseases and Treatment Landscape

For improving care delivery and advancing drug discovery, a thorough investigation of diseases and treatment landscapes is essential. The physical and emotional aspects of patients' conditions can be uncovered through qualitative research by exploring their lived experiences. Researchers learn more about the effectiveness of treatments, their side effects, and the overall effects on quality of life by collecting patient narratives. Healthcare professionals who want to customise treatments, improve patient support systems, or even help develop medicines that are more patient-friendly will find this information to be of great value.

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Identifying Barriers to Healthcare Access and Adherence

The success of patient care is significantly influenced by access to healthcare. Financial, geographic, cultural, or logistical barriers that patients face when seeking care can be thoroughly examined through qualitative research. Researchers can learn about the difficulties patients have accessing healthcare services and following treatment regimens by interacting with them directly. This knowledge opens the door for targeted interventions, policy modifications, and resource allocation that remove these obstacles, ultimately improving care accessibility and results.

Qualitative research focuses on the human aspect of healthcare, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of patient experiences. Researchers and healthcare professionals can work together to improve patient care outcomes by looking into adherence, studying illnesses and treatments, and figuring out barriers. By bridging the gap between patient perspectives and evidence-based practise, the insights gained from qualitative research promote patient-centered care that speaks to the various needs of individuals.

Improved Care Outcomes can Enhance Patient-centric Care  

Modern healthcare now places a strong emphasis on providing patient-centric care, which focuses on customising medical services to each patient's needs, preferences, and expectations. Since achieving patient-centric care and having satisfied patients are mutually beneficial, improving care outcomes is closely related to doing so.


By embracing personalised treatment plans that respect patients' individual contexts and encouraging collaboration based on values and preferences, improving care outcomes amplifies patient-centric care. In this setting, informed decision-making thrives because thorough patient engagement empowers decisions that are in line with each person's unique set of circumstances and fosters autonomy.  

Beyond physical health, patient-centricity encompasses holistic wellbeing, taking into account how illness affects a person's emotional, mental, and social well-being. Continuous communication fosters trust, and ongoing assistance ensures that patients have access to the resources they need for an organised health journey. Integrating feedback accelerates learning and adaptation, improving services in line with changing needs. Encouraging self-management, prevention, and informed decisions, patient empowerment highlights improved outcomes. In the end, patient-centric care creates a healthcare environment that values collaboration, holistic treatment, and patient empowerment.

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Author Bio

Shireen adores writing and currently, she’s all about making B2B content fun, engaging, and 100% non-boring. She's intrigued by the scope of AI(not scared, yet), and how it helps advance operations on all fronts across industries. On a typical day, she scours the internet for anything and everything AI-related, and goes on a loop of writing and re-writing cause it’s just not perfect.

Shireen Noushad

Product Marketing Specialist

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