There’s no doubt about it: when it comes to communicating with healthcare professionals during healthcare fieldwork recruitment, email is one of the best ways to keep in touch. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s a fantastic way to build a rapport with your HCP respondents throughout the recruitment process. However, there are some things you need to consider when contacting HCPs this way, from complying with the relevant rules and regulations to making sure your message stands out and doesn’t get lost among the hundreds of other emails they receive each day. In this blog, we've put together our top tips for communicating with HCPs via email during the healthcare fieldwork recruitment process to make sure your respondents remain engaged and that your project is a success.
Keep it brief and to the point
No one likes opening an email only to be faced with long rambling paragraphs of text, especially HCPs who typically have very hectic schedules. That’s why it’s always best to keep your message brief and to the point. Make sure you reveal the necessary information in the first paragraph so they don’t have to scroll too much to access the info they need, and always separate your paragraphs so your email is easy to read. Above all, be clear, succinct, and write what you need to say without skirting around the subject.
Comply with industry regulations
The BHBIA Legal and Ethical Guidelines state that all personal data collected during a project needs to be kept secure - so it’s really important you take the necessary steps to do so. A respondent's email address is considered personal data as it can identify them, so you must make sure you protect email addresses in the same way as you would other identifiers. If you need to send an attachment containing further personal information they need to be secure too, so make sure your attachments are password protected to be completely sure.
Don’t send confidential information
This leads us onto our next point: however efficient and easy emails are, always remember that they aren’t a completely secure method of communication. Emails can be forwarded onto others without your knowledge, accidentally sent to the wrong recipient or even hacked - so it’s important to make sure you never send any private details about physicians or their patients’ health information via email.
Be careful with your formatting
When it comes to contacting HCPs, make sure you keep your emails plain and simple. After all, busy physicians don’t care about bright colourful text with an array of different fonts and images - they just want to get to the relevant information as quickly and as easily as possible. Of course, make sure you underline or embolden text where there’s a link to be followed, but by keeping it simple and not going too overboard you can make sure your email is easy to navigate, looks professional and avoids spam trigger filters too.
Write a relevant subject line
Your subject line is the first thing your recipient will see before they open your email so it needs to be direct and sum up the content of your message without being too long. A good way to grab HCPs’ attention is by personalising the subject line and addressing them using their first name, and if your email contains vital information such as the location of the study, it’s worth putting it in the subject line too. This will lower the risk of them ignoring the email as it addresses them directly and gives important information up front, encouraging them to open it.
In conclusion, email is a great way to contact HCPs during healthcare fieldwork recruitment and throughout the duration of any medical market research study: it’s quick, it’s easy, it gets to the point and it means they can respond to you quickly and easily at a time that works for them. Of course, if you urgently need a response from a patient or HCP you should consider an additional form of communication such as a phone call or text as well to make completely sure the message doesn’t get missed. Likewise, when confirming their participation in a study, we’d always recommend sending a confirmation email followed by a phone call and text message nearer to the time to keep your project fresh in their minds.
As healthcare fieldwork recruitment experts, the team at GKA have had lots of experience in contacting HCPs using various different methods, and we have an excellent working relationship with the physicians on our panel. If you’d like to find out more about the type of respondents we could help you reach for your next medical market research project, download our panel book here.