In a project conducted for presentation at the 2016 PMRG Connect conference, the InTask team worked with a biopharma manufacturer to develop a virtual patient simulator for schizophrenia. The objective of the research was to better understand the dynamics and drivers of physician use of oral versus injectable antipsychotic medications. 75 psychiatrists who treat schizophrenia were each asked to use the InTask simulator to treat eight virtual patients over three visits. This resulted in 600 complete longitudinal patient records which formed the basis for analysis.
Of particular interest was the impact of caregiver request for injectable therapy on physician switch from oral to injectable anti-psychotic medication. In order to address this issue, nearly identical pairs of virtual patients (clones) were created for inclusion in the simulation. The only significant difference between each clone was the presence or absence of a caregiver requesting injectable therapy. This experimental approach, which we refer to as A/B testing, proved robust, and demonstrated a significant impact on switching to an injectable in response to caregiver request-- but only for patients with less severe schizophrenia.
From the respondent perspective, this study also clearly demonstrated that the InTask simulation platform is more engaging and interesting than traditional questionnaires. More than 9 out of 10 respondents indicated that the InTask survey was more interesting than the on-line surveys they are used to. As one psychiatrist respondent said of the simulation, "This works for our brains because this is how we think...we think, we assess, we treat, we reassess, we treat... that's how it works."
The May, 2016 PMRG Connect presentation of this study is titled, "The Respondent Reloaded: A Market Research Matrix". It is available for viewing in the Virtual Learning Center on the PMRG website.