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3 models to help investigate new product adoption challenges

December 1st, 2022

Over 25% of revenues in the pharmaceutical industry are typically spent on research and development (1). However, despite the repeated emergence of new products, physicians often stick with existing, sometimes inferior treatments.

A valuable approach when doing research into new product adoption challenges is to incorporate a model – where a model represents or explains the operation or mechanism of something. Models can help us develop and test a range of hypotheses about behaviour and potential barriers to behaviour, and in doing so can also help minimise the risks of making incorrect assumptions.

Below are three useful models for helping to investigate and explain new product adoption challenges, which can also be used to better understand patients as well as physicians:

1. COM-B MODEL: This first model (2) is not specific to understanding new product adoption challenges, however it can nevertheless be very useful. In summary, to do any particular behaviour, the model states that one needs three things: the Capability, Opportunity, and Motivation. Capability may be around having the requisite physical strength or stamina, although is more commonly associated with psychological knowledge and skills. Opportunity is about having a conducive physical and / or social environment. Finally, Motivation covers one’s considered beliefs, but also the potential importance of automatic influences such as impulses and habits.

2. ADOPTION OF INNOVATIONS MODEL: In this second model (3), there are two pre-requisites for the successful adoption of new innovations. First, people need sufficient knowledge about the innovation. Once present, this then creates the conditions for the second necessity: persuasion. Importantly, the model also contains information on key factors which influence both of the above, and which can be tested through research. For example, persuasion is influenced by innovation factors such as its perceived complexity and trialability, as well as perceived advantages over current options.

3. TECHNOLOGY ACCEPTANCE MODEL: This final model (4) describes two key factors that influence the acceptance and usage specifically of technology: perceptions of usefulness, and of ease of use. As above, the model also contains important information on these factors which can help to inform primary research. First, perceived usefulness depends on the perceived relevance and quality of the technology, as well as perceptions of others’ beliefs. Perceived ease of use depends on personal factors such as the belief one is able to use the technology.

The models above can be used to help inform the design, analysis, and reporting of primary research: qualitative or quantitative. As well as providing deeper insights into current behaviours or barriers, these models can also, if desired, help us to recommend, generate, and test behavioural interventions to increase the chances of new products being adopted in the future.

Chris Harvey
Founder, Activate Research

2. Michie, S., van Stralen, M., & West, W. (2011). The behaviour change wheel: A new method for characterising and designing behaviour change interventions. Implementation Science, 6, 42.
3. Adapted from Rogers, E.M. (2003). Diffusion of Innovations (5th Ed.). New York: Free Press.
4. Adapted from Davis, F.D. (1989). Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology. MIS Quarterly, 13, 319-340.