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There's a fine line between healthcare and qual research

Whether studying health, mental health, or people's love of chocolate, we're repeatedly reminded how much people want to talk about their deepest feelings - if only we let them. Good qual not only provides the environment for this but expects and encourages the most intimate, embarrassing, or weird.

As healthcare becomes more aware of mind-body connections, we see the role of qual research (& all research) as overlapping with healthcare services themselves. Sometimes they even do a better job. How often does the tired, distracted nurse (or the time-starved doctor) actually ask about your emotional state beyond the symptoms they're trying to discern? And then, how often do you feel in the mood to tell them the full range of your physical symptoms?

What we've learned by coaxing fizzy pop consumers to open up about 'happiness' has also helped us remove many of the barriers we see in healthcare - especially mental health. By talking to an empathetic chatbot, with no eyes to judge (or look impatiently), and no gender to make us shy, patient sharing can do some remarkably useful heavy lifting for the healthcare profession.