How can a government agency clearly communicate and engage with doctors about training and staying up to date with the latest evidence-based practices?  By designing an approach that understood how medicine-related communication and training were prioritised, managed and consumed in a GPs’ time poor schedule.

As the front line for healthcare, demands placed on GPs are high. Pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, insurers, community groups, education providers, government departments and regulators all want their attention, and often while they are trying to provide care and advice patients.  So that our client could more effectively engage with GPs and do it in a long-term sustainable way that did not add to their workload, we needed to help them understand how GPs choose whose information gets their attention, what media and formats they were most likely to get their attention, and they prioritised their attention.  While the focus of the project was initially on our client’s needs the focus of the research was on the user experience and their decision making.

Understanding communication with GPs required interviewing GPs in their practice environment.  In this environment, they were able to show all the information they were recently sent, how it was received, and what they physically did to prioritise and manage what got their attention and when.  By interviewing GPs in different types of practices and sizes, we were also able to learn how the management of information was shared across GPs to ensure important information was not missed and important but less urgent information was not always pushed back and never used.

From the research our client was able to design a communication strategy that worked from the perspective of the GP in ensuring our client’s communication to GPs was easily identified, prioritised, and that the GP was able to consume the information in ways that reflected the relevance and available time.