HRW’s Technological Affinity Score – Predicting Response to Tech Innovations


Here at HRW, we work with a multitude of digital methodologies that bring us closer to the reality of patients and physicians. Alongside our interaction with participants through forward-thinking research tools, many of our clients are also seeking to understand how they can provide customers with technology-based solutions to better meet their needs. HRW’s Technological Affinity Scoring system (TAS) helps guide that process, while going beyond the surface level assumption that respondent demographics are the best predictors of technological interest and ability.

As the scope of advancement continues to grow across all areas of healthcare, a question we found ourselves asking (and our clients, too) was:

Outside of the core benefits and challenges presented by a new offering, how much of an impact do technological considerations alone have on overall customer reception?”

“Technological affinity” is described as the measurement for level of engagement with technology devices across various social, educational, and functional settings. Our system for uncovering this level of engagement is rooted in two well-researched models for adoption of innovation. The first, known as the “Theory of information and individuals’ behaviour”1, investigates the factors that are most important in leading to an innovation being accepted by an individual (or group2). The second model, called the “Technology Acceptance Model”3, is rooted in information-processing and focusses on attitudes that are proven predictors of an individual’s response to technological change.

By taking the learnings of each model into account, HRW has developed an approach that is easily incorporated into a discussion or survey, helping to predict and understand an individual’s response to the technology-based concept being presented. Particularly when evaluating new products and services (including medical devices, patient support apps, and other digital or mobile health offerings), TAS can provide insight into the product’s level of appeal and adoption for various segments of a patient or physician population. Not only can we explain the behavior, but by measuring against certain critical factors, we can help to encourage a favorable response among certain groups.

Our validated Technological Affinity system can be used for any research in which technology is a core component of the “future scenario.” This includes advances in a product, process, or infrastructure, often deeply-embedded in the current framework (think Tele-Health and the changes that come with implementing a new communication system). Also relevant are cases where technology could represent a hurdle to adoption for a product that typically targets a less “tech-familiar” population (such as personal use medical devices like a stroke detection arm band, for example).

Our Technological Affinity system is effective for both, HCP and patient research, and we’ve successfully utilized TAS in both qualitative and quantitative work.

As always, we’d love to talk about how our innovative research tools, including the TAS system discussed here, can help your team succeed. We invite you to get in touch with myself or another member of the HRW Research Innovation team to learn more!

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By John Friberg

1 Mahajan, V., Muller, E. and Bass, F. (1990) ‘New product diffusion models in marketing: A review and directions for research’, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 54, pp. 1–26.
2 Moore, G. A. (1991) ‘Crossing the chasm: Marketing and selling high-tech products to mainstream customers’, HarperCollins, NY.
3 Davis, F. D. (1989) ‘Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology’, MIS Quarterly, Vol. 13, No. 2, June, pp. 319–339.