Diabetes, devices and market research

Market research provides patients with an opportunity to share experiences and provides manufacturers with actionable insights that improve patients' lives. We take a look at a diabetes focus group this National Diabetes Awareness Month.

November marks National Diabetes Month. At CMR, diabetes is a topic that’s particularly close to our hearts. While our work covers many therapy areas, we’ve met with hundreds of diabetes patients over the years.

Our aim as market researchers specializing in medical devices is to understand how people interact with different devices and how these devices impact on disease management. Through focus groups, in depth interviews, surveys and ethnography, we’ve gained a deep insight into what it’s like to live with diabetes.

So what are the benefits of market research to patients who use diabetes management devices – and the manufacturers that produce them?

Benefits of diabetes market research – manufacturers

For medical device manufacturers who can spend millions on product development, it’s really important to understand how their brand is perceived and what steps they can take to improve their route to market. As these testimonials from our recent focus group with users of the Abbott Freestyle Libre show, patients provide a rich source of information:

“You can buy a start-up pack… that’s their main selling point. They were quite clever with their marketing…it meant you could get in there from day one.”

“A bit more engagement from a technical level would be great, someone from (the manufacturer) saying we have seen these problems and you might want to look here, or try this.”

Uncovering stumbling blocks

The focus group setting can also reveal the motivations of diabetes patients and any potential stumbling blocks when considering a new device or treatment:

 “You go and see a diabetic specialist for half an hour, twice a year, and that’s it, that’s your information. So really, you have to analyze it, you have to become the expert. So I thought (a CGM) would help me to maintain control.”

 “I wasn’t in favor of (the Freestyle Libre) to begin with because I thought I’d get information overload and it might be stressful, knowing that much.”

Understanding patients’ motivations

As researchers, it’s been really interesting finding out what motivates users and to expose preference and appeal. For some, it’s how the device fits into their daily routines. For others, it’s more about the feel of control it gives them.

Convenience is the key word. Working in an office, in a meeting, on the tube, you’ve just got to swipe it.”

“For me, it’s the fact that the Freestyle Libre provided continuous data… to be able to eat, to be able to run – you can react then and there. You can use it for patterns and planning and you just can’t do that without continuous data.”

Insights & experience

For manufacturers, market research provides actionable insights that answer burning questions – whether that’s about usability, pricing or the needs of different target audiences.

For patients who contribute, market research provides access to products they might not otherwise try. It provides awareness and hope about the new innovations coming to market. It provides a great opportunity to meet people with shared experiences and emotions.

Market research makes a difference – and that’s why we enjoy doing the job we do. For an example of the kind of work we do with diabetes patients: download this independent report: Understanding User Experience: Abbott Freestyle Libre

If you have T1 diabetes and are interested in taking part in a future focus group, please email the CMR Recruitment Panel for more information.

Photo credit: PracticalCures.com