by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

We’ve helped several clients conduct simple to elaborate needs assessments recently and are struck by the seemingly illogical conclusions reached by some high-level managers. When it comes to health data, market research rules sometimes get tossed in favor of opinion or the way they think things ought to be. Here are 4 common mistakes to avoid:

  • Don’t expect your research to necessarily produce dramatic news. Some managers want to justify their project by making something from nothing. If you’re lucky, the data will grow in your direction over time, but just as often it moves in the other direction and you’ve made the wrong decision.
by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

Although “hanging chads” from the 2000 Presidential election haven’t come into play since (thankfully), every year there’s some confusion about the proper way to cast votes. The challenge highlights what veteran well-being managers have known for years: people miss a lot, don’t read thoroughly, and often fail to ask for help when they’re unsure what to do next. These problems usually can be caught and corrected with simple usability tests.

Would Mom Get It?
The reality check we often use at Health Enhancement Systems for testing new materials, websites, or promotional tools is “Would Mom get it?” The idea is to see whether someone not typically exposed to the thing you’re testing would easily grasp what you want them to do.

by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

We can usually tell within the first 5 minutes whether a prospective client has had good or bad experiences with consultants. The conversation is very guarded and the prospect makes clear a litany of things they won’t pay for — before it’s even determined we’re the right people to help them. 

If you think using a consultant is in your future, here are a few tips for getting off on the right foot and ending up where you want to be:

1. Figure out your problem or need first. That seems straightforward, but many people who seek help don’t have a clear objective in mind. A blanket statement like "lowering healthcare costs" or "improving health behaviors" isn’t specific enough. By leaving it open-ended, you’re inviting consultants to play to their strengths, which, if you’re lucky, match your needs — but it’s a gamble.