Why Pharmaceutical Companies Should Perform Paid Surveys (And How to Get Started)
By Tyler Tuttle

Breaking Down the Importance of Paid Physician Surveys

According to top consulting firm McKinsey, many pharmaceutical companies often make decisions in the absence of essential data. When decisions cost billions of dollars, pharmaceutical companies can’t afford to ignore data that can improve doctor relationships, enhance patient care, and protect the company’s bottom line. 

Performing medical market research surveys can fill in these data gaps and help pharmaceutical companies make better, more informed decisions. Medical market research surveys let pharmaceutical companies know how they’re doing and what they should be doing better—to whom doctors are likely to prescribe a certain medication, whether they’re likely to prescribe a given medication at all, trends in patient care, feedback from conferences, even the feasibility for new products, medications, and services.

Paid medical market surveys have a huge impact on not only pharmaceutical companies, but also on health professionals and patients. Physicians have ideas, observations, critiques, and feedback for pharmaceutical companies, as well as insight from patients who respond to medications. 

How is the Information From These Surveys Used?

Pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars every year launching new drugs and services. If they miss the mark, that’s a lot of money down the drain. And worse, any misstep could cause huge ramifications for the product launch and patient impact. 

With all this at stake, pharmaceutical companies rely on the sound advice of physicians on the front lines, who know their patients well, and provide valuable feedback that helps drive business decisions.

Here are some of the main ways physician feedback is used to improve patient care, develop new medications, and inform marketing tactics for new drugs and services. 

1. Physicians tell pharmaceutical companies how patients respond to medications, what is bothering them, what’s working, and what’s not—feedback used to hone the product or the messaging around it. 

Paid physician surveys give pharmaceutical companies insight into how they can improve patient care and therapeutic outcomes. Physicians offer useful information about drug performance, how patients respond to certain drugs, what type of patient they’re likely to prescribe a particular medicine to, and how they would use a given medication. 

2. Medical market research surveys help improve physician education and information services. 

Through paid surveys, physicians can show pharmaceutical companies how they prefer to share observations, so pharmaceutical companies can reach doctors where they are most focused. 

Through the use of surveys, pharmaceutical companies can position themselves as physician- and patient-focused by acting upon feedback. This is how pharmaceutical companies can improve their communication with healthcare professionals, and relay new information in meaningful ways that respect physician time.

3. Primary market research surveys improve every facet of the pharma-physician relationship. 

Physician surveys can make the pharma-physician relationship smoother and more effective. If physicians are ever frustrated with how a pharma company is promoting a product, surveys are the perfect opportunity for physicians to provide feedback.

Surveys allow pharmaceutical companies to understand what physicians value in their working relationship, including education about a new medication, benefits to patients, and efficacy messaging. This is essential if a pharmaceutical company wants physicians to continue prescribing their medications. 

4. Life science market research surveys make it possible for physicians to join forces with pharma to improve patient education and support. 

It takes a team to make a patient well. Physicians need the collaboration with pharmaceutical companies to educate patients about acute and chronic conditions, which help with medication adherence and disease management. 

Together, pharmaceutical companies and doctors can set their patients up for making more informed healthcare decisions, leading to improved outcomes. Sometimes this requires more educational materials for patients, such as booklets, brochures, or even videos—insights learned by pharmaceutical companies when gathering primary market research from physicians.

How Physician Surveys Drive Change in the Market and Improve patient care 

Everyday, pharmaceutical leaders make decisions that impact doctors and patients, which in turn, impact a pharmaceutical company’s bottom line.

That’s why it’s essential for physicians to share their opinions and feedback. It’s the only way that pharmaceutical companies can avoid making huge decisions while lacking essential information from their key stakeholders. 

These survey responses are also highly valued by The American Medical Association (AMA). They use physician survey data to “prevent burnout, make EHRs interoperable and fight for major issues identified in the survey results.” Medical market surveys are the most effective way for physicians to share their feedback with large players in healthcare, and to move the needle in the right direction for both patients and HCPs. 

In short, physicians are full of valuable insight. When they provide pharmaceutical companies with feedback, it benefits everyone. 

“Working together, bio-pharmaceutical companies and physicians can improve patient care,” Holly Campbell, spokeswoman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America tells Pro Publica, “Physicians provide real-world insights, valuable feedback, and advice to inform companies about their medicines to improve patient care.”

What’s In It for the Physician: Why Physicians Participate in Paid Surveys 

Some physicians spend valuable time seeking out the best medical survey companies to share their opinions and to better support pharmaceutical companies in their efforts to make efficacious therapies. Thanks to online, on-demand technologies, a healthcare professional can share his or her opinion to pharmaceutical companies without spending more than five minutes. It’s easy, quick, fun, and gives doctors a chance to voice their concerns and opinions that have a significant impact on the direction of healthcare. 

Answering paid surveys can also provide a nice bump to a physician’s income. While it’s no get-rich-quick scheme, doctors can still make over $100 per hour for qualitative research and a bit less for each question for quantitative research, which can go a long way in helping them pay down student loans, bills, save money for their children’s education, or towards buying something nice for their support staff!

Furthermore, physician surveys are far from boring. “These surveys can actually be a very educational and enlightening experience,” says Mark Tyson, MD. Turns out, physicians are interested in what pharmaceutical companies have to say, and end up learning a lot from the questions themselves—in addition to providing their invaluable expertise.

According to Modern Med Ed, “[Surveys] often correspond to new developments in fascinating areas of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device research. This makes involvement with them potentially insightful to the savvy clinician.” They keep physicians engaged on the cutting-edge of medical tech, and help them better understand the goals of a pharmaceutical company. 

Many physicians simply enjoy that their answers help patients down the line, and that their voice helps improve the pharmaceutical experience for themselves and their patients. 

Why Do Physicians Get Paid for These Surveys, Anyway? 

With the dawn of the Sunshine Act, some physicians may be wary about paid physician surveys, but for pharmaceutical companies, surveys are essential for serving patients and understanding the medical market. 

First of all, physicians sharing their experiences are integral to pharmaceutical companies’ bottom lines. The only way for a medication to improve a patient’s life is for a doctor to prescribe it. Doctors can also inform pharmaceutical companies where they’re falling short when it comes to patient management and education. This goes a long way in improving patient adherence, which in turn improves patient care and cuts mortality rates.

Smart players in the pharmaceutical industry leverage physician opinions and feedback to improve how they can help their end-users: the patients themselves.  

Perhaps most poignantly, physicians are some of the busiest people on the planet. Medical market researchers know that they’re taking up the valuable time of healthcare professionals, and they know that most doctors can’t chip in for free. It’s important to compensate doctors for their time so they don’t rush through surveys, so they provide complete and accurate data, and so the physician feels like it’s worth their time to continue the relationship. 

Quick, Efficient, and Powerful: The New Way to Perform Medical Market Research 

Those familiar with the physician surveys of 20 years ago, might be hesitant to jump on the bandwagon. Pharmaceutical companies must often forge ahead with market plans in a timely manner—after all, patients are waiting for treatments in development—and many pharmaceutical companies remember the time-consuming medical market surveys of 20 years ago. 

In the old days, medical market research surveys were exclusively completed on pen and paper, and were long, repetitive, and inefficient. A doctor who wanted to participate had to set aside hours in her day to drive to the test site and complete the survey, or a nurse had to drive around with a stack of survey papers, dropping them off to physicians’ houses or workplaces. Doctors often felt like they had to rush through the survey to save time, and pharmaceutical companies could never be 100% sure if the data they gathered was accurate or thoughtfully answered.

With the rise of digital technologies, gathering medical market data is now quick, easy, and efficient. Most importantly, new technologies prioritize respondent experience to ensure the most focus approach to responding. So, pharmaceutical companies can be confident in the quality of the data directing their decisions. 

The Process: How Paid Physician Surveys Work 

Medical market research has come a long way since the surveys of 20 years ago. Now, online, on-demand technologies make it easier for pharmaceutical companies to gather essential data in real-time. 

InCrowd makes it easy. Pharmaceutical companies can create a survey using one of the platform’s 13 unique question types, customize which types of healthcare professionals should take the survey, and then receive results in real time. 

Once medical market research surveys are deployed, pharmaceutical companies can receive real-time data 24/7 through the platforms cloud-based application. InCrowd’s robust reporting and data visualization helps pharmaceutical companies understand the data rendered as pie charts, donuts, bar graphs, or spreadsheets. For everything else, analytics specialists can help translate the data into meaningful, actionable feedback. 

Essential Insights and a Trusted Network of Research Professionals and Physicians 

Gathering medical research is bigger than any one pharmaceutical company, research organization, or doctor. It’s about forging the way for new treatments, devices, and medications that have the potential to change lives and improve patient care. 

What will your next medical market survey unearth? In order to gain quality insights for your future big decisions, be sure to connect with our trusted experts to ask us more about how microsurveys can help strengthen your bottom line and help you make informed decisions.

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