Medical Ethnography

Clinician habits and practices vary widely. Depending on expertise and training, physicians and nurses follow different techniques when performing even the most common procedures. Moreover, every clinical setting differs by space, room configuration, and staffing, affecting how clinicians practice their craft. Likewise, every patient is different. Mobility, home configuration, and available caregivers affect how a patient manages acute or chronic disease. In both cases, simply asking is not sufficient to understand the context of care; ethnographic, observational research is necessary.

The AMS Difference

Applied Marketing Science (AMS) has conducted ethnographies in clinical and at-home settings for nearly two decades. We have observed physicians perform procedures, technicians turn over machines, and patients self-administer medications. Our work has informed design decisions for existing platforms and has helped uncover opportunities to meet unknown needs with new devices.

  • We focus on observation to understand the steps involved and the detailed, underlying needs that drive both the design of new products and the creation of distinctive patient and clinician experiences
  • We use a combination of observation and interviewing to uncover hidden needs while also exploring stated, known needs
  • We deploy mobile ethnography for convenience and discretion, especially for spontaneous cases (e.g., getting a headache), sensitive subjects, or for immune- or mobility-compromised patients
  • We are well-versed in the tactical details of regulatory and compliance rules for clinician and patient participation in observational research

The End Result

Our observational analysis draws from a wide range of artifacts—photos, online diary entries, mobile video, interview transcripts—to create a compelling narrative of the clinician or patient experience. Using interactive tools, we weave photos, videos, and verbatims into digital storyboards that bring customers to life. In addition, we back up our story with an exhaustive and comprehensive catalog of functional and emotional needs, highly-detailed to support tactical design decisions.

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