According to InCrowd research, pharmaceutical professionals are driven by a sense of purpose. Pharma professionals love working on the cutting edge, making an impact in advancing the medical field, and improving the lives of patients.
Though this purpose drives most business decisions, pharmaceutical companies are only as good as the research informing their decisions.
So how can pharmaceutical companies choose the right medical market research company? Before we dive in, let’s explore how we got to where we are today.
How We Got Here: A Brief History of Medical Market Research
Twenty years ago, gathering medical market research required jumping through hoops to obtain essential information. The days of pen and paper surveys were mired by inefficiency, long surveys, and incomplete data gathered by poor methodologies.
The evolution to on-demand medical market data, iterative research, and high-quality respondents has been a long, challenging path.
Clinical Nurses on the Front Lines
Clinical nurses in the eighties and nineties, armed with a stack of survey papers, would drive to the houses of patients who had agreed to periodic interviews. These nurses led respondents through long series of questions, many of which involved private information that respondents may not have felt comfortable sharing.
After the interviews or questionnaires were complete the nurses would gather their paperwork and drive back to their hospitals, where they would hand the paperwork to medical coders who would enter the data into their systems by hand.
For years, this slow and inefficient process was the only way to collect medical market data.
An Industry Crawling Its Way to Innovation
One would think that those in the medical market research field would jump at the opportunity to leverage online, on-demand technologies to streamline data collection. Surprisingly, this has not been the case.
Compared to other industries, the pharmaceutical industry has been comparatively slow when it comes to embracing innovation. Top consulting firm McKinsey ranked the pharmaceutical industry second-to-last for digital maturity—only slightly above public sector agencies—because they often make strategic decisions in the absence of meaningful data. This issue is due to barriers in strategy, company culture, and organization.
This phenomenon is evident in the way pharmaceutical professionals conduct medical market research. Many have held onto the “old” way of performing research, believing that it’s the “right” way. With changing capabilities and an ever-evolving market, sometimes the old way is no longer best.
How Digital Solutions Ensure More Credible, Accurate Data Sets
Modern on-demand surveys are designed to be more reliable, more accurate, and to gather more complete data sets. Here’s how online surveys can strengthen data and create a streamlined process.
Modern on-demand surveys thoroughly vet and validate respondents.
According to Online Panel Research (Callegaro, 2014), online market surveys offer better validation mechanisms to ensure that the correct target audience is reached.
Online market research surveys make it possible to recruit and vet healthcare professional (HCP) respondents more thoroughly and with more precision.
Today, life sciences researchers know where HCP respondents work, what type of setting they work in, their specialties, years in practice, their medical licensing, and more. Often, regular profile updates and double opt-in registrations are required. Every HCP must complete a list of criteria validating who they are and what they do.
Digital technology prevents and identifies invalid data.
In the old days, a market researcher would deliver a stack of papers to a doctor’s office and had no way of knowing who actually filled out the survey. How were the researchers to know whether it could have been an office assistant, a nurse, or the doctor’s 12-year-old son who completed the survey?
These days, respondents fill out surveys on their smartphones. They are far less likely to hand their iPhones to another person, compared to a stack of papers.
Because of this, survey responses are more likely to be completed by the validated physician assigned to complete them, and to add an extra layer of assuredness, today’s technological platforms scan the data for anomalies.
On-demand surveys gather more complete data.
The old way of performing surveys meant that a respondent had to be willing to sit and focus for a full hour. At the end of the survey, if they missed an important question, it was difficult to go back and ask it again. Online surveys, on the other hand, allow these companies to go back and ask a missed question, resulting in more complete data.
Modern online surveys are more cost-effective.
Digital surveys cut down on the number of workers necessary to process data, and they take far less time and money from beginning to end.
Modern digital surveys cut out the middle man.
Before on-demand, online surveys, life sciences researchers would often connect with healthcare “thought-leaders” who were sent to answer market research questions. These thought leaders acted as “filters”, and could unintentionally skew data sets.
Today, we have access to regular community doctors in many different places and specialties. This results in more targeted data from the front lines.
When it comes to utilizing digital tech in medical market research, the benefits are clear. So how can a pharmaceutical company ensure that they’re choosing the right medical market research partner in today’s current digital landscape?
6 Essentials to Look for in a Modern Life Sciences Market Research Company
Upon hiring a medical market research company, it’s essential to choose one with trustworthy data. Here are some specific things to look for.
1. A modern medical market research company makes it easy to comply with the law.
By design, life science medical market research companies should comply with federal regulations, such as the Sunshine Act.
Medical market researchers need to comply with the law by automatically performing double-blind studies. This helps pharmaceutical companies avoid regulatory hassles and is best practice for good research. Double-blind studies not only help with compliance, but help with data legitimacy.
Market research companies in the life sciences should also be GDPR compliant, keeping up with all privacy standards laid out in the new European legislation.
2. Modern medical research companies have high quality-control standards.
Online surveys make it possible to vet respondents to ensure the admittance of only qualified responders. This provides high quality data that comes with greater confidence.
The entire point of introducing technology into medical market research is to answer the question, “How can we do this better?” With modern technology, it is possible to reach more healthcare professionals, create a more streamlined process for data capture, and gather validated, targeted, high-quality responses.
3. Modern medical research companies can obtain quick results and achieve seamless deployment and execution for clients.
With the use of technology, it is no longer necessary to wait days or weeks for results to roll in. Modern market research companies understand that for their clients time is a tool to leverage for the most effective decision making and product optimization.
4. Modern medical research companies have experts working behind the scenes, always ready to help.
Technology doesn’t exist in a vacuum. A market research company is only as good as the people behind it. Real humans with decades of experience should be working behind the scenes, ensuring accurate, trustworthy data that has the potential to fuel smart decisions for making medications that save and improve lives.
5. Modern medical research companies have a vast network of medical professionals.
One of the first ways to determine if data is reliable is by looking at the population size of the survey, the n number.
A market research company’s network of respondents must be large and provide high response rates.
Accurate data relies heavily on the engagement of respondents: patients, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, payer, and hospital administrators (among others) provide valuable insights on products and services that move the healthcare industry forward.
6. Modern medical market research companies acquire fast results.
The efficacy and relevance of medical data is strongly linked to its timeliness: how recent is the information? On-demand surveys provide data in real time, so pharmaceutical companies can use that data to make actionable, meaningful decisions towards creating the most efficacious cures, medications, and vaccines.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Finally, a great rule of thumb: hire a market research company that has a proven track record of stellar past performance. If they’ve done well for clients in the past, chances are, they’re operating with all of the aforementioned best practices.
Experience is key. It’s not always a great idea to work with an unproven new company, but it’s still important to ensure that the medical market research company isn’t mired in old, traditional methods that get in the way of higher standards and efficiency.
InCrowd: A Great Place to Start
Finding the right medical research company can be tricky. While newer companies that embrace technology may be unproven, older companies might not have the digital capabilities to provide high quality, strong data. Here at InCrowd, we’re proud to offer the best of both worlds: an online platform integration with respondents a rigorous respondent vetting and validation process, the ability to provide high-quality data in real time, and a solution designed to comply with regulations and identify outliers data and stable of happy marquee customers.
Market researchers don’t have to choose between quality and efficiency. InCrowd offers direct access to more than 45,000 verified, proprietary expert healthcare professionals who regularly deliver high-quality data within hours, as well as a further 1.8M worldwide through trusted partners. To get real-time market intelligence that can transform data capture and help drive informed decision making, Contact Us, call InCrowd at 617-934-1600, or email email@example.com.