Evocative Descriptions of Novel Diagnostic Outputs, and How They might be Sensibly Chosen

Three simple, independent market research studies were conducted to test the resonance of various descriptors of a diagnostic approach. The specific specialists surveyed were lab directors, and cardiologists.

The objective was to determine which terms would be most credible to describe a diagnostic result, especially if it were a multivariate index of sorts. Additionally, the least credible terms were sought.

Figure 1

The percent of each term mentioned for most favorable was plotted against the percentages for least favorable. See above (tap to enlarge). Out of 15 potential terms, two stood out as the most favorable, assessment and score. The two least favorable were reckoning and estimate.

Figure 2

By subtracting negative mentions from those that are positive, one can get another, yet consistent perspective, as shown below. Moving further into the more favorable group, evaluation and index still scored reasonably well.

Virtually all of the other fifteen terms tended to be negatively perceived. So while they are only modestly less credible than the broader nomenclature, status and value round out the bottom four.

A final check was done to compare the results across the two medical specialties, cardiology and clinical chemistry (lab). As can be seen below, the results were consistent, giving confidence to the conclusions.

Figure 3

So how is this information useful?

On the positive side, one could incorporate the most credible terms into either the product trade name, or occasions when describing the product. For example, this knowledge could be used in advertising, public relations, or even continuing medical education (CME). Perhaps even clinical studies could incorporate the most credible terms.

On the other hand one could use the least credible terms to describe one’s competitors’ approaches. In this instance, one would not have to directly disparage the others’ products, simply take advantage of the impressions that the apparently benign descriptors might evoke.

As the studies conducted up to the point of this essay were general, one would want to take the specific uses and test them independently. For example, advertising copy could be assessed, as could PR or CME materials. This way, one would see if, as it appears, simple terms might have substantial results.

© 2013 Winton Gibbons

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