Healthcare Providers Across Specialty Still Want to Participate in Market Research

Healthcare Providers Across Specialty Still Want to Participate in Market Research

Let the data guide you when conducting research during the time of COVID-19

As market researchers and insights professionals, we are well-practiced in the art of forming a hypothesis and then relying on the data to shift and shape our approach. While many of us first assumed that we should slow—or even halt—our research studies during the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are instead finding that we can offer providers a welcome sense of normalcy amid the upheaval. We can also continue helping providers share their perspectives on the current pandemic, as well as the many other pressing diseases and other health concerns that still need to be addressed.  

In fact, research reported by M3 Global Research on March 19, 2020 shows that healthcare professional response rates are up 12% overall and up by 15% for quantitative studies.  The same research revealed that response rates in Italy are up by 27% despite the intensity of COVID-19 in the country. This data, along with data collected from InCrowd and project manager fieldwork feedback reported by SurveyHealthcareGlobus detailed below, shows clear evidence that healthcare providers continue to want to participate in market research during this time.

Intellus Worldwide recommends that healthcare market researchers continue their important work. At the same time, we urge researchers to make necessary adjustments to protect respondents’ physical safety, personal information, and time.  It is also recommended that the community continue to diligently monitor the data to adapt to the rapidly changing healthcare environment.

Interest in market research remains strong

Reports from our market research partners show that healthcare providers remain interested in responding to research surveys during the pandemic.

●     InCrowd, Inc. reports that in a March 19, 2020 microstudy of 263 frontline treaters (emergency room and critical care specialists, primary care physicians, and pediatricians), 97% answered “yes” to the question, “Do you wish to continue to share your opinions via microsurveys during this time when healthcare professionals are in higher than normal demand due to COVID-19?”

○     Those who wish to continue sharing feedback via microsurveys during the COVID-19 crisis, cited that they want to help (52%) and believe the information they have to be impactful during this time (25%).

○     HCPs report that providing feedback remains critically Important to them, even more so now, if it could be done in a nonintrusive way (online, short, mobile and on the go, avoiding excessive open ends).

○     Selected remarks include:

■     “As a pediatrician, our business is down 30-50% so I have time to do surveys.” —PCP, LA

■     “I want my voice heard.” —ER Specialist, TX

■     “It's critical to ensure that medical professionals on the front line are heard as a priority.” —Emergency Medicine Physician from FL

■     “Happy to share my opinions and give the money to my staff, worried we’ll be laying off soon.” PCP from MI

■     “I can always choose not to participate if I am too busy.” Emergency Medicine Specialist from FL

●     SurveyHealthcareGlobus (SHG) reports that as of March 24, 2020, SHG project managers continue to see no impact on quantitative research response rates regardless of specialty or country. The one exception is in-person qualitative research studies, which SHG has put on hold to protect the safety of employees and respondents.

●     M3 Global Research conducted an incentive-free survey between March 18 and March 20, 2020 of 5,665 professionals working across a broad range of specialties in the U.S. and Europe.

The survey showed that:

○     99.7% of healthcare professionals are willing to take part in market research. This includes more than 500 respondents working in frontline specialties, such as anesthesiology, critical care, pulmonology, and infectious disease.

○     99.4% of healthcare professionals across all markets are eager to participate in online market research.

○     Providers note that research offers them:

■     A distraction from their current pressures

■     Added income during an uncertain time when many providers not on the front lines of the COVID-19 response are having to cancel appointments, close practices, or self-isolate

■     Continued learning opportunities

■     The opportunity to be part of research that will significantly impact beneficial new therapies

○     82% of healthcare professionals across all markets remain open to receiving frequent emails and express a desire to manage their own influx of communications.

Researchers can implement key best practices to conduct research responsibly during this time to ensure HCPs can provide a critical voice in these unprecedented times

We echo the statements from EphMRA, ESOMAR, M3 Global Research, InCrowd, SHG and other industry organizations that researchers should follow best practices specific to the current situation:

●     Approach healthcare providers and patients with empathy: From healthcare providers on the front lines, to those who’ve recently had to close their practices, to patients themselves, everyone is impacted by the current crisis. We recommend adapting survey invites, messaging, and tactics to reflect a greater sensitivity toward potential respondents’ situations and available time. In addition, be sure not to penalize providers who do not respond during this time when many may simply be too busy treating patients.

●     Make surveys simple, quick, easy, and focused on the greater good: A recent survey by InCrowd, Inc. shows that during the COVID-19 pandemic, providers want surveys that are fast, simple, and convenient (75%), and results that are leveraged to improve public and government awareness (21%).

●     Find new approaches to avoid face-to-face qualitative research: We recommend that researchers follow current public health guidelines on social distancing and explore remote qualitative options. This crisis can push us to find new ways of working and collaborating.

●     Ensure data protection: As companies move to more virtual, work-at-home arrangements and technologies, work closely with your legal, regulatory, and IT departments to ensure alignment with all proper data security measures.

●     Respond quickly to emerging issues: The situation for healthcare professionals is evolving rapidly across countries, regions, and specialties. For example, M3 Global Research data shows that 68% of U.S. providers vs. 49% of Italian providers are willing to participate in telephone interviews. This may reflect the current level of COVID-19 intensity in each country, respectively, and requires continued monitoring. We recommend researchers work closely with clients, vendors, and government stakeholders to monitor and respond to emerging issues.

Intellus Worldwide will continue working with our members to bring updates to the insights community. We are available to answer questions and address concerns from our members. 

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