PM360 2019 Innovative Strategy The Science of Motivating People to Change Health Behaviors from Syneos Health Communications

The Science of Motivating People to Change Health Behaviors

Syneos Health Communications

Kathleen Starr, PhD, Managing Director, Behavioral Insights

Despite the best efforts of various stakeholders, the fact remains that people do not always make the best decisions about their health. Too often, they persist in unhealthy habits, delay seeking treatment, and don’t follow their care regimen. This is in large part because healthcare information is often communicated in ways that are both outdated and unexamined. So, Syneos Health Communications worked to translate the complex field of behavioral science into actionable insights and tools that support communicators for their goal to help people live healthier lives. And they published a 138-page guidebook/toolkit, Why We Resist: The Surprising Truths About Motivating Behavior Change, authored by Kathleen Starr, PhD, Managing Director of Behavioral Science, and Leigh Householder, Managing Director, Innovation

Why We Resist is filled with quick tips, worksheets, stories, and decision-guiding tools. It uncovers Nine Principles of Influence, each of which is a core human truth that we all share. It is these truths that can act as barriers that wire people to resist changing their behavior. For each principle, the book explains how to switch these truths from barriers of resistance to activate change.

In addition to the book, Syneos Health also developed a number of communications programs and behavioral science workshops for customers—each aimed at tackling a different behavioral challenge. And they are arming healthcare communicators with new insights into how to talk with patients about the value of their participation in their health. Additionally, they are encouraging healthcare communicators to move beyond targeting demographics to developing communications that match the mindset of the audience. Using mindset segmentation allows stakeholders to customize behavioral solutions to show how people look at the world, process information, and respond to change.


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