What drives patients’ treatment decisions in Parkinson's Disease? | UCB
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What drives patients’ treatment decisions in Parkinson's Disease?

Picture of author Elisabeth Dohin
Posted by
Elisabeth Dohin, Patient Value Unit - Neurology
One of the most impactful fields of research in recent decades has been the study of human behaviour. Daniel Kahneman, one of the founders of the field of behavioural economics, won a Nobel Prize in 2002, while this year’s prize went to Richard Thaler, a leading thinker in the field – testament to the importance of this scientific discipline.

At UCB, we’re passionate about unlocking behavioural insights which could help people living with severe diseases. We believe one of the first steps in addressing an unmet need and in encouraging healthy behaviours is to work closely with those whose lives we want to improve.

That is why we initiated ‘DRIVE™ a market research (“research”) designed to deepen our understanding of the behavioral drivers and subconscious influences which influence treatment decisions for people with Parkinson’s Disease (PwPD).

In partnership with Final Mile Consulting, who describe themselves as BEHAVIOUR ARCHITECTS™, UCB set out to expand our knowledge and better understand how cognitive neuroscience, behavioral economics, and design principles can explain and influence decision making in Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

This behavioral research, encompassing PwPD, their carers and Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) involved in treating patients with movement disorders, was initiated by the Free Motion Mission within UCB’s Neurology Patient Value Unit - a cross functional team focused on addressing the unmet needs of PwPD to enable them to have a more engaged life every day.

The research was prompted by a reality that up to 50% of PwPD stop taking medicines prescribed to them by their HCPs within 3 months of initiating treatment.

UCB hypothesized that, by understanding how a PwPD’s  subconscious influences their behavior, it might be possible to improve patient experiences, treatment expectations and, ultimately quality of life.

Initial findings from DRIVE™ suggest that, for many patients, a diagnosis of PD is associated with a belief of ‘certain loss’. This perception creates a context of uncertainty with regards to the outcome of any treatment, which causes them to change treatments prematurely, or without weighing the benefits of a medication against any side-effects they might be experiencing.

Additionally, the research suggests that an openness to trying new treatments and an evolving treatment journey, with regular decision making roles between patients and their HCP, could support better treatment outcomes. The full DRIVE™ report can be downloaded here.

Building on these insights, UCB believes more can be done to help PwPD to maximize the benefits of the treatments available to each of them, and that this would represent significant added value for patients.

UCB has a strong record in gathering insights from  PwPD through innovative research. Results from the DRIVE™ research will add to earlier insights gained through the STEP™ market research.

STEP™ aimed to help the PD community better understand the ‘lived-experiences’ of PwPD, and found that commonly used clinical definitions can over-simplify the complex reality of living with the condition. It also showed that a greater emphasis on understanding the more complex physical, mental, societal and emotional aspects of PD could be beneficial. UCB hopes that by sharing this knowledge more broadly, it may be possible to improve patient outcomes by addressing what matters most to them.

We hope that with both DRIVE™ and STEP™, UCB can support the PD community to adopt new perspectives about how to better appreciate patient needs, and help develop solutions to better support patients throughout their treatment journey.

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