Chart Audit Studies: Physician Opinion Combined with Real Patient Data

Surveys are a valuable avenue for gaining HCP product preferences, motivators and barriers to usage, brand perceptions, and estimated market shares. But when you need to know very specific data points at the individual patient level, it is difficult for HCPs to estimate in a way that is accurate and meaningful. This is where the addition of a chart audit component to your study can be extremely valuable.

Chart audits provide details from the patient journey continuum that help to roundout the insights from and applications of a market research engagement. Chart audits can provide:

  • Information about diagnosis: type and frequency of symptoms experienced prior to diagnosis, the diagnosing physician specialty, diagnosis methods, and referral patterns.
  • Treatment sequences, dosing, and reasons for treatment changes.
  • Data about the hospital journey: when and why a patient may see several different HCPs (and which ones) before resuming treatment with their PCP.
  • Robust information on market trends, particularly in markets where there are multiple products across multiple treatment lines and frequent shifts in treatment protocols.
  • Market shares within a therapeutic area by different patient types and characteristics.

Analytically we can perform several more advanced analyses with both survey and chart audit data that are not possible with either alone. For example, if you integrated an HCP chart audit of patient records with a separate patient survey, we could characterize a patient population by their demographics, attitudes, and behaviors in addition to their disease-specific medical journey. This information is powerful when patients are doing but how this might differ by their age, attitudes towards treatment, or engagement in health-related activities; we can model the most recurrent patient journeys (treatment pathways, HCP interactions, dosing, etc.) while controlling for concomitant factors.

Similarly, when developing forecast models, we can utilize both data sources to develop a more accurate and robust picture of a market. Estimates of market share, uptake timing, size of relevant patient populations, likelihood of product switching, etc. can all be viably gathered as part of a survey; however, it is more difficult to measure things like dosing frequency and strength without also integrating chart audit data. Depending on the market, these kinds of data are often critical components of a forecast model since they provide the base layer estimate of product use. In markets where secondary prescribing data is even more valuable when projecting sample HCP prescribing behavior to a larger population.

As with all research engagements it is critical to design the survey instrument and chart audit form with the end objectives in mind. Designing the two separate instruments to complement one another ensures thorough integration and complete insight into key research questions. While data from one instrument or the other may provide compelling results, it is only when the two sources are integrated that we can recognize the most thought-provoking and actionable depiction of the health-care market.