InCrowd’s Co-Founder and President Diane Hayes interviewed three physicians from our Crowd at a recent pharma market research conference to get a first-hand account of the physician experience when it comes to participating in market research and clinical trials.
Diane, who has a Ph.D. in epidemiology and deep background in clinical trials, engaged the physicians in an informative dialogue. In addition to forums like this, InCrowd routinely surveys physicians through its MicroSurvey platform to understand their views on market research and healthcare issues.
The three physician panelists were:
Dr. Svetlana Katsev, the director of non-invasive cardiology at St. Francis Healthcare in Philadelphia, PA. She has been in practice for 15 years and joined our Crowd in February 2018.
Dr. Irene Greenhouse, a neurologist at multiple hospitals in Jamison, PA, including Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health and Holy Redeemer Hospital. She has been in practice for 15 years as well and joined our Crowd in September 2014.
Dr. Brian Michel, the chief of nephrology at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, NJ. He has been in practice for 35 years. Dr. Michel joined our Crowd in October 2017.
Though all are InCrowd Crowd members, they also all work with other market research organizations.
When it came to their experience with various types of market research surveys and companies, our physician panel had a lot of recommendations (along with feedback and grievances!).
One overall grievance was that surveys were sometimes too long. The computer-generated time assessments provided on the invitation were often underestimates. Physicians found themselves in a quandary: either start a survey and drop out after a certain period of time or just ignore it because the estimate can’t be trusted.
(Analysis of InCrowd’s database indicates that 69 percent of physicians complete surveys on our platform within or under the estimated time duration on their invitation.)
“They underestimate the time it’s going to take to do it properly,”Dr. Michel said. “And when you consider the amount of time you actually have to take it versus the compensation, very often it’s not worth your while,” he said, going on to single out InCrowd’s survey experience. “But InCrowd is an exception. Their surveys are very short. I love doing them because it’s $15 for 3-4 minutes.”
Another frustration was screenouts—when a respondent doesn’t pass the survey screening questions. Dr. Katsev said she sometimes went through 15 screening questions before being told she wasn’t eligible to participate. “It’s five minutes spent on screening and for $0,” Dr. Katsev said. “If you ask for my time, you should be compensating me.”
Our same database analysis revealed that InCrowd surveys have an average of 2.3 screener questions. This is a result of two factors built into our platform:
- A pre-profiling database with demographic, practice, and other information that is used for targeting
- Two free screeners provided for each survey
In addition, InCrowd pays respondents if they screen out to avoid a negative respondent experience.
One aspect that confused our physicians was the “why” open-ended question that researchers often insert at the end of a closed-ended question. They found it hard to understand why they were being asked for a short, qualitative response at the end of, say, a multiple choice question. “I don’t think that’s appropriate,” Dr. Michel said. “I can never give all the reasons why I chose answer x. If I did, that 10-minute survey would become four hours.”
The physicians agreed that asking why was important, but that it needed to be done in a different format.
Clinical trials in the US are notoriously hard to fill, with only 40 percent able to hit patient recruitment goals, according to numerous studies cited in Applied Clinical Trials, an analysis of of clinicaltrials.gov from 2006-2015 published in BMJ Open, and research conducted by Converge Advisory Group.
Our physician panel cited several issues they’ve seen from the frontlines that impact recruitment and participation:
- Patients don’t follow through
- Solo practitioners have little to no time to follow up with patients
- Too much paperwork
- Short on staff for patient recruitment
- Big academic centers are impersonal and large, changing staff doesn’t provide continuity of care
- Informed consent is challenging for patients to understand
- Randomization can hurt participation because patients are afraid of being placed in the placebo group
Forums like this are an important feedback loop for the pharmaceutical market research industry. As these three physicians point out, there is always room to improve the physician experience and, perhaps most importantly, respect their time and expertise as we think about screener and survey design.
InCrowd will continue to talk to physicians, through forums like this and our regular syndicated surveys on healthcare and market research issues, and bring this valuable insight back to industry leaders.