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Telephone Research is Personal

My doctor called me the other day. He told me that my recent tests came out just fine and I didn’t need to worry. He said he was happy with the results, asked me how I felt, and if I had any questions. Yes, in fact I did have a few questions. However, the answers were confirming and clear. I left the conversation free from the doubts and concerns that had crept into my head about the potential risks of aging.

In this example, the communication via phone call seemed very appropriate. Of course, I could have logged into a healthcare portal and checked my account for email messages. I would have received the same message, just in a different way. But after thinking about it for a while I discovered it wasn’t the same message at all.

Good health is very important to me. I realize that without it I would have nothing. While reading an email about my test results could have given me the information, it would not have provided the emotional relief and assurance the doctor’s voice had given me. This conversation was an important part of my health care journey, and one that would help me stay on the path to good health.

Health care is just that, very personal. As a market research firm, we are constantly reminded of this as we conduct telephone studies for our health care clients. When talking with patients about their healthcare experiences we almost always get a sense that being “listened to,” “being adequately advised,” and “treated with care,” to name a few, are of high concern. We find that people really want to provide feedback about their health care; they like to tell us if things are going well, and also when they’re not.

What we’ve concluded after conducting telephone survey research in healthcare for over 40 years is that there is value in connecting, person-to-person, voice-to-voice. We think conducting health care research over the phone will continue to provide a personal connection between patients and providers for years to come.

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