Understanding Provider Needs

Developing a clear understanding of providers through an audience analysis is an important initial step to determine the objectives, overall approach, and channels and tools to be used in a provider behavior change communication strategy.

The process is nearly identical to any other audience analysis (see How to Conduct an Audience Analysis). In addition to demographic information (age, gender, location, years of service), a provider audience analysis should include insights to understand the gaps between the desired and current behavior and the underlying reasons for those gaps.

The following are types of information one might gather in a provider audience analysis:

  • What is the provider’s current behavior regarding the targeted service/health area? Does the provider perform the desired behavior all the time, only sometimes, or not at all?
  • What are the reasons the provider does not consistently practice the desired behavior (the barriers)? Is it because they lack adequate resources, time or pay, or are the barriers tied to lack of knowledge, skill or other ideational factors?
  • What is the provider’s current attitude about the job, the service, or the clients with whom they work? Are they happy with their job? Do they have any biases toward the services they are being asked to provide or toward the clients they see?
  • What does the provider perceive to be the benefits of adopting the targeted behavior?
  • What is the provider most motivated by—peer support, social status, financial incentives?

Record these insights in a Provider Profile, which will help summarize the intended providers and offer insights on how to position the desired behavior change (improved counseling of adolescents, increased counseling on critical issues for contraceptives, etc.) in a way that offers a benefit to the provider (increases status in the community, reduces workload) while overcoming an important barrier (lack of confidence, lack of knowledge).

Download Provider Profile Template

Sample Provider Profile

providerName: Dr. Hema

Age: 50 years old

Gender: Female

Dr. Hema is a well-established, business-minded doctor. She is an Ob-Gyn with a big clinic. She has 50 OPD clients a day and does 20 deliveries per month. She aspires to hold important positions in social groups, be recognized in the community and attract more and higher income clients. She only inserts IUDs on request and does about 10 insertions per month. She believes her role is to instruct clients and not counsel.