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Shaheen’s Strategies

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

Recency Bias

Recency bias, or the recency effect, is a cognitive bias in which those items, ideas, or arguments that came last are remembered more clearly than those that came first.

This phenomenon is important to know in our industry, specifically, when promoting the services that our programs provide. Everyone is susceptible to the recency bias in our personal lives and our professional lives.

Think back to a time when you were able to get a referral from a person or organization that you met with or contacted the previous day or even that same day – was it because of recency bias?

Imagine you get the opportunity to meet with a well-known provider that does not send many referrals to your program. During your meeting you discuss some of the diagnoses and symptomology of our patient population, and how your program addresses these diagnoses and symptoms. You provide them with the program’s contact information and anything they would need to send a referral. The next day, you receive a referral from that same provider. Why do you think that happened? Did they just happen to see a patient that next day that was appropriate for the program… or was it the recency effect?

The purpose of the theoretical meeting above was to provide specific information on what a patient that could benefit from our programs could look like. Often providers might notice signs and symptoms in their upcoming patients simply due to the recency bias. So how do we utilize the recency bias effectively? Frequency is important, however so is the quality of the information being provided.

My recommendation:

Plan out the topics of your contacts instead of a general overview of the program, such as:

  1. Plan to discuss symptomology of depression in elderly during one contact.

  2. The next contact, plan to discuss how CBT addresses depression coupled with medication management.

  3. The following contact could focus on a specific diagnosis like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

When patient care comes first, everything else falls in line.

Jacob Shaheen

Director of Business Development



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