Editor’s note: Research Partnership and Bristol Myers Squibb are the winners of the 2022 Health Care/Pharmaceutical Research Project Award, a category in the Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards. This award is for a project that took an innovative approach to health care or pharmaceutical marketing research that had the potential for long-term influence. To find out more about the awards click here.

There is a growing need to understand what really matters to head and neck cancer patients and what improvements can be made in their care and everyday lives. Using innovative digital ethnographic techniques, along with techniques grounded in cognitive psychology, anthropology and psychotherapy, Research Partnership was able to go deeper and explore beyond the obvious.

Findings from this study are impacting patients in real ways, from policy changes to creating awareness and supporting patients and their caregivers. I chatted with Research Partnership to learn more about the study. 

Since the 1990s, the incidence rate of head and neck cancer has increased, with almost 12,000 new cases diagnosed annually in the U.K. But, despite this prevalence, head and neck cancer does not receive the same public awareness or attention as the more common cancers. Moreover, there is a lack of understanding of the consequences and impact in the aftermath of this cancer - especially when it comes to the quality of life challenges faced by patients post-treatment.

Our goal at Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) is to use the insights from this study to drive real change for patients by developing emotional and engaging case studies to support a policy whitepaper and create awareness among England’s National Health Services’ (NHS) policy makers, health care practitioners and the British media. 

To explore quality of life, we used an ethnographic approach. Ethnography is an empathetic and immersive approach tha...