Unfortunately, some healthcare providers tend to neglect qualitative insights in favor of quantitative (quant) findings. 

Hospitals in particular spend most—if not all—of their research budgets on numbers and statistics. But you need both research methods for optimal success. In fact, we’d go so far as to suggest investing more in qual and overlaying it with existing quant to give voice to your numbers. 

Tricia Wang, the noted ethnographer and advocate of qualitative insights is noted as saying “All numbers still need interpretation and analysis. And if they want to be understood and actionable, they need stories.” and you cant create a story without a qualitative POV.

Clearly, there’s inherent value in qualitative research for healthcare stakeholders. But how do you attain meaningful qualitative findings for your hospital or health care network (HHN)? And how can you get the most out of this market research investment?

Attaining Meaningful Qualitative Data Hinges on Finding the Right Healthcare Research Partner

Not all qualitative research is created equal. And not all research firms extract the same value from their research processes as others. 

To that end, attainment and application of excellent qualitative data in order to affect results at your hospital starts with finding the right research partner. 

Look for Firms Focused on Healthcare Research 

Most research consultancies work in several industries at once. Yet HHNs operate under very specific mandates and serve a diverse set of internal and external stakeholders replete with nuance and a unique set of needs and challenges.

How can a generalist research firm grasp the complexities of your business?

Even if you find a consultant who specializes in healthcare, make sure they speak the language of the industry adeptly. Someone who speaks the language of the healthcare world will walk into qualitative research interviews with your patients and other stakeholders at a significant advantage. They’ll have the context needed to move past basic talking points and into lengthy, meaningful conversations—yielding better research insights for you.  

You can find evidence of a true healthcare-focused firm not only by reviewing their past projects, but also by checking their employees’ backgrounds for relevant experience. 

Few firms are as entrenched in the hospital and healthcare world as LIFT. Not only does our client roster indicate our depth of healthcare knowledge, but our employees have diverse backgrounds, often having worked within hospitals prior to joining our team. 

Consider the Research Team’s Healthcare Experience 

Just like you don’t want a generalist firm conducting research for your unique hospital, you don’t want just any business person interviewing your stakeholders to attain qual insights. 

Oftentimes, market researchers are simply young professionals with various (sometimes unrelated) undergraduate degrees who decide to go into research. 

To be blunt, they’re number crunchers and method pounders. 

But qualitative research is an art, and quality researchers know they’re practicing a craft rather than collecting nameless data points. It’s also so much more than posing pre-determined questions—anyone could do that. 

If your consultants are doing it right, qualitative research involves asking real people to be vulnerable, to reveal truths. In fact, they should explore the environmental, social, and cultural elements influencing your stakeholders’ attitudes and behaviors.

Clearly, carrying out qualitative research is a job for someone special.  

That’s why LIFT brings on researchers with specialized backgrounds in fields like anthropology and design who are equipped to engage in holistic methodologies such as ethnography and design thinking

Because of our team’s expertise, we ask more of you, our client, so we can garner the best possible qualitative insights for your hospital. For instance, we’ll always insist on interviewing a diverse set of stakeholders—not just your CMO, but a representative from every layer of leadership and beyond—to get authentic and rich results. 

Design thinking and ethnography are more than methods to us, too. They’re mindsets. Dare we say, ways of life. We even use them to inform internal processes. We’re committed to bringing our way of life to your hospital to improve your outcomes and get patients through your doors

Turn Your Research Insights into Real Hospital Strategy 

Once an effective partner has helped you unearth qualitative data, how should you use it? The short answer is to inform marketing strategy and product or service redesign. 

Since translating your fresh data into actionable strategy isn’t straightforward, LIFT does more than hand you a report and move to the next project. First, our team presents our recommendations in an engaging way, never a monotone PowerPoint recitation. We also bring tools from our proprietary Insights Canvas to the table. These tools are often the jumping off points for real action, such as a prototype or a content strategy.  

Most importantly, we collaborate with you. 

Qualitative research itself involves getting our hands dirty to genuinely understand diverse stakeholders. LIFT brings this same mindset to our end-stage presentation to you. We’ll do the work of extracting meaning and building strategies from the research as a team. 

And remember, we’ll always look at your newfound qual insights atop your quant data, never in silos. You’ll be stunned when your quant numbers take on a whole new dimension, colored by stakeholder interviews. 

One More Thing: The Power of Patient-Centric Marketing Content

Perhaps the most powerful way you can leverage your new research is through content: the written word. 

Because our qualitative research hinges on deep, lengthy, small-group (or even one-to-one) interviews, you’ll end up with pages worth of real-world quotes, stories, and experiences

Essentially, your raw data is an untapped reservoir of content. 

Together, we can transform your stakeholders’ perspectives into content (blog posts, mission statements, website copy, deliverables, etc.) that reflects back your patients’ voices. And when patients hear themselves in your marketing collateral, they’ll be more apt to choose your hospital for their health needs.  

Deciding to conduct qualitative research is hard enough for some hospitals. Selecting the right research partner is key to safeguarding your hard-won investment. The right partner will know how to conduct research that elicits meaningful insights and turn those insights into patient-centric strategies and services. 

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