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Header image for the current page Behavioural Insights

Behavioural Insights

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Behavioural insights are playing an increasing role in the delivery of healthcare as it is recognised that understanding and influencing human behaviour is crucial to improving health outcomes.

Many behaviours influencing health - such as exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, taking medications as prescribed, and attending regular check-ups - are influenced by a complex interplay of psychological, social and environmental factors. Behavioural insights marketing is an approach that uses insights from psychology, economics and other social sciences to understand how populations make decisions and how best to influence their future actions.

Our experienced behavioural insights experts are already supporting healthcare commissioners and providers to understand why patients, public, staff and stakeholders behave in the way they do, why they don’t always behave in ways that are optimal for their health and how best to communicate to achieve change and improve population health.

Our support
Our team of insight, involvement and campaign specialists can provide the skills and capacity required to support your individual challenges. All our behavioural insight projects are led by clinical experience, academic research and scientific process and utilise our tried and tested five-stage approach:



We work collaboratively with your internal stakeholders to understand the challenge, your objectives and the outcomes required. We will then create a strategy that advises on the best approaches to engage with your target audience to gather meaningful behavioural insights.

As part of the NHS family, we fully understand the need for delivering best value and will work within your budget and timescale requirements. We are also cognisant of the potential needs of people belonging to one or more of the nine protected characteristic groups and will recommend adapting our approach to include interpreting and translation support as well as working in collaboration with voluntary sector organisations where required.

Each data analysis will be uniquely delivered depending on the requirements of the project and the approach to exploring target audience behaviours.

As one of the largest suppliers of data and analysis within the NHS, we have over 300 business intelligence experts that ensure our approach is robust and rigorous.

For qualitative feedback, we identify and explore key themes in open question responses and code data to understand frequency and trends. For quantitative responses, all coded open questions and closed questions will be tabulated and cross-tabulated against the profiling questions (typically the nine protected characteristics and postcode). As we collect demographic data, we discover different behaviours, barriers and motivators for different population groups. Where respondents’ postcodes are collected, we also produce maps, for example, showing where respondents live by index of multiple deprivation (IMD).

Based on initial discussions, a mapping exercise will identify your key target audiences - including segments to create cohorts centric to achieving your desired outcomes.

This will enable the development of a stakeholder database, which will be utilised to invite people to take part in the behavioural insight exercise.

Depending on the nature of your project, desk-based research can be used to better understand target audiences, their drivers and motivations to accessing services. This could include working with our internal equality, diversity and inclusion team to gather information relating to health inequalities within your system so that we can ensure that our engagement work is targeted effectively.

We initially scope and assimilate publicly available research from deep dives and business intelligence about patient (or other stakeholder) activity to inform our approach. This also enables a baseline of the current situation to be created.

Next, we recruit the agreed target audience to participate in the agreed engagement exercise with clear communications and, where appropriate, the use of incentives. Leaning on behavioural theory, we carefully construct questions that are easy to understand and deliver useful feedback. We will ask quantitative and qualitative questions that deliver an understanding about why people make the choices they do, how they behave, what prevents them from behaving differently and what might encourage them to behave differently, by exploring motivations and drivers.

We have extensive experience of all aspects of planning and delivering surveys and focus groups and collating the feedback in an engagement report. All engagement activities consider the demographics and needs of the target audience in order to be fully inclusive. This could include questions in different languages or formats, for example people with a learning disability or non-native speakers of English, selecting appropriate venues for focus groups to ensure everyone can access them including wheelchair users and people with a disability, or providing interpreting support if required.

We also consider all digital engagement opportunities. For example, social listening is frequently used to understand what key target audiences in key locations are discussing on social media to provide useful insight into the level of interest in specific subjects within a particular demographic group.

To ensure our behavioural insights activities deliver the maximum benefits for clients, the format of the insight report is agreed during the initial stages of the activity and presented in a user-friendly way including tables, charts and infographics.

At the end of every report, we will make recommendations on the potential next steps. This could include using the insight to develop a behaviour change campaign or PR work. Additional support is also available to facilitate the implementation of campaigns and communications that utilise the enhanced insights now available.


Service benefits

  • Gain a more thorough understanding of your patients and staff through greater insight
  • Develop the knowledge required to target budget allocations more effectively
  • Create a thorough understanding of your population that empowers the development of impactful communication campaigns that encourage behaviour change.

Download our Behavioural Insights brochure



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