Picking a research partner is an important decision that shouldn’t be made simply for convenience. It’s easy to go with a local firm. Or a cheaper one. Or the one where your best friend’s brother works. But as with most things in life, performance depends on effort, with “easy” not always equaling “right.” Thus, when you’re contemplating a healthcare market research firm to assist you with your data collection needs, it’s important to set standards and stick to them, regardless of how timely or inexpensive or familiar you want the circumstances to be. Here are five questions to ask healthcare market research firms as you consider your options:
In What Areas Are You Most Experienced?
The healthcare industry is a big one, providing and/or maintaining medical services, equipment, drugs, insurance and facilities (hospitals, labs, clinics, custodial care communities, etc.) for patients. Indeed, it’s so massive that it’s hard for any one healthcare market research firm to have a comprehensive grasp of all the nuances that might affect any one sector. This makes it paramount that you ask potential partners about the areas in which they have particular experience, matching their skills with your own individual needs.
Are You Able to Demonstrate an Understanding of Pertinent Medical Jargon?
Similarly, you should confirm that any partner you choose knows how to “talk the talk.” It’s one thing to do market research within a lay community. It’s quite another to do it within a professional or academic one, where subject expertise resides in a complex understanding of specialized terms and procedures. If you’re going to have to teach a research firm how to speak to your respondents, you need to look for a different partner.
How Have Your Technological Capabilities Changed Over the Past Five Years?
Technology in the healthcare industry has changed and is changing rapidly and dramatically. Digital automation continues to drive modern medical care with physicians’ little black bags and clipboards being bypassed for tools straight out of a sci-fi movie (i.e., artificial intelligence, virtual reality, robots and more). Capabilities have also grown within the research realm; what was once standard (telephone interviewing, for instance) is now frequently inappropriate for many survey needs. Couple all of these advancements, and you need to verify that the partner you choose has the resources, as well as the know-how, to apply the right tools in the right ways and make (and understand!) meaning from them.
Can You Give Us an Example of How You Respond to Regulatory Compliance Issues?
Of course, the healthcare industry maintains rigid privacy and security protocols, and you need to insure that the healthcare market research firm you choose is able to comply with them. Health information is sensitive, as is financial data concerning payments between healthcare providers and care receivers, and because different occasions warrant different levels of regulation, if a potential healthcare market research partner can’t demonstrate an awareness and adherence to these types of policies, you risk violating federal and local laws and exposing yourself to legal liability.
How Do You Recruit Respondents?
While market research in the healthcare industry may differ in many ways from that of research in other industries, it still bears one universal market research problem: how to recruit respondents. Good data relies on good sources, but because access has gotten easier, people have become oversaturated with information requests. They are tapped out and less likely to respond to survey appeals. And if they do, they often put little time or effort into their replies. Their boredom with the market research process makes it critical that your partner knows how to attract, retain and compensate qualified respondents who are truly representative of the population you seek.
Ready to Learn More?
Good market research relies on an understanding of the market at hand. For accurate and meaningful results in the healthcare sector, you need to pick a competent healthcare market research firm. Contact our team at Communications for Research (CFR) to learn how our healthcare industry experience leads to meaningful and actionable results for you!