The importance of cognitive debriefing in the medical device space

The importance of cognitive debriefing in the medical device space

Have you ever sat across the table from a someone whose native language was different than yours and wondered how well they understood you? Did you ask a non-English speaker a question and receive an unusual response in return?

Context and nuances lose meaning across translation. What might seem obvious in one language could mean something completely different in another.

Having a slight misunderstanding in a friendly conversation might not be a huge deal, but in your medical device marketing, it is. Misunderstandings could cost money, lose sales, and cause a host of legal problems. To avoid these catastrophes, cognitive debriefing is essential.

What is cognitive debriefing?

Gauging comprehension is difficult – especially when it comes to translation.

  • How do you know that the other person understood you?

  • How do you make the question mean what you want it to mean in the other language?

  • How do you avoid misunderstandings that could cost you sales?

It’s a challenge for any medical device company and sales team. This struggle is solved with cognitive debriefing.

Cognitive debriefing implements a process that gives a qualitative answer to how understandable your communications are to people who speak a different language. It’s done using a questionnaire to test a group of people to determine how many understand your communications. In return, you get a more accurate glimpse into how well your information is comprehended.

Numbers and figures prove that your translations are understood in the new language in the same way as they were in the original language.

How (and why) it works

The medical field requires extraordinary levels of compliance. One crucial error could mean a lawsuit, lost sales, or ruined revenue streams. To ensure that your communications are accurately understood, there is a cognitive debriefing process that takes place.

Step 1: Find a test group

The first step in cognitive debriefing is to find the right group of people.

You’ll need to start with people to conduct the interviews. These people must be native speakers of the language you’re translating into. They must also live in the country where you want to target your medical device sales. To truly have a strong result, your interviewers should also have a healthy understanding of the medical community. This way, questions and conversations can be posed in a more meaningful manner.

You will then need to find the people in your demographic to survey. These people should be potential customers that would use (or might use) your device. Check age, conditions, health, and other important factors that relate to the product you’re selling.

Usually you’ll need to find at least five or more people in your target market to be interviewed. Less than that will not give you adequate results.

Step 2: Start asking the questions

In the next step, the interviewers begin the questioning round.

Questioning is best done in-person. This gives your interviewer a chance to gauge the respondents’ understanding. The interviewer asks a questions and then requests that the respondent restate the question in their own words. This is where you get a more accurate understanding of how well the person comprehends the material they’re being asked about.

Step 3: Qualify the results

After the interviews are finished, a report is generated to pull together all of the results. In this report, you will find patterns of misunderstandings. This gives you insight into common threads of vague terminology and ideas that could have a fundamental impact on your sales.

Repeat as needed

As you find potential mistakes in the translation, you can fix the errors and start the process over. This usually does not need to happen more than once or twice since many of the respondents can offer insight into what would make a question or subject clearer.

Work with your translation team to put cognitive debriefing into practice. In turn, you’ll get stronger results from your translated texts and position yourself better in the foreign markets.



Image: PhotoSpin

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