The Last Mile: Understanding the 4 Tendencies

APRIL 09, 2015
Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Sick-care and disease prevention has become one big data management exercise. Patients are data sets and doctors are data managers. In addition, in the gap between the data and the doctor, are many others including data scientists, navigators, care coordinators, and, of course, the payers.

But, in order for any of this to do any good, there needs to be an intervention based on identified risk factors and that intervention has to change behavior.

Take this test.

If you took the time to take the test, you will get some understanding of why it's so hard to change human behavior and habits and why people don't. Simply put, we're all built differently, were brought up differently and have different approaches to changing our habits.

In researching and writing “Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives,” Gretchen Rubin realized that all of us differ dramatically in our attitude towards habits, and our aptitude for forming them. She described 4 distinct groups: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels.

Research like this is giving us a better understanding of patient psychographics and what makes them tick, particularly when it comes to changing their behavior. Giving people data alone does not change behavior. For information to be effective, the people who receive the data need the tools to change and the motivation to do so. Until then, throwing data at doctors and patients might be an interesting way to try to make a few bucks, but it's unlikely to improve outcomes.
 



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