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Gut Feelings

by Say Communications for Danone Nutricia

Summary of work

Infant functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders are often a natural consequence of a baby’s gut growing, but can cause real anxiety for parents. New evidence highlighted millions were being spent on prescribing medications that were not recommended by guidelines, which say first-line management should focus on parental reassurance and nutritional advice. Danone Nutricia challenged the agency to address this issue of overmedication and shift healthcare professional (HCP) behaviour to manage these conditions in line with the guidelines.

Surveys commissioned by the Gut Feelings expert panel confirmed that parental anxiety was a key influence on HCPs’ treatment decisions, and that not all parents had felt reassured by their HCP. This insight defined the strategy to address parents’ anxiety, minimising the pressure to prescribe unnecessary medication. The panel developed the Gut Feelings online educational programme which, using the principles of motivational interviewing, empowered HCPs to reassure parents effectively so they leave consultations satisfied, even without a prescription for their child. The programme was used by over 2,000 primary care HCPs, showing a clear need amongst our audience, with qualitative feedback indicating many intended to apply the techniques in daily practice.

Judges’ comments

Say and Danone handled a very sensitive area extremely well. They produced a solid strategy that was well researched, based on insights. It was highly education with a simple but effective approach. It showed motivation and an ability to speak to parents and educate them.