Market research online communities (MROC)are becoming more and more popular in healthcare market research. The benefits can be unbeatable for researchers, allowing them to conduct research with expert HCPs or patients online in a one-to-one or group setting and enabling them to gain insights from a fresh perspective that just wouldn’t be possible with traditional methods. There are also a number of benefits for participants, too, with online communities fitting in around HCP’s busy schedules and providing a good solution for hard-to-reach, low-incidence patients or those who would prefer to take part in research from the comfort of their own home.
The importance of your software selection
In order to get the most out of your healthcare market research project though, you need to choose the right software to support it. Get the software right and you could be on the road to unbeatable insights with fully engaged respondents - but get your software choice wrong, and it could be detrimental to your healthcare market research project. And with so many different types of software out there, it can be hard to know which one best meets your needs. Read on for our ultimate guide on how to choose the best software for your next healthcare market research online community and what questions you should be asking to ensure you end up with the right software solution for you.
- Can it be used on tablets and smartphones?
In today’s fast-paced world, mobile capable software is more important than ever before because so many people use tablets and smartphones for the majority of their online interaction. This is especially true for doctors and HCPs who will more than likely carry out their research on the go in between appointments and after surgeries: using a tablet or mobile means they can complete tasks around their schedule, which means they will be more willing to take part. But it’s not just about the professionals - mobile enabled software is also more convenient for patients, too, because they can take part in research anytime, anywhere, whether at home or whilst waiting for hospital appointments.
- Is it available via an app or a mobile site?
Apps are a very popular option for MROC software - they are generally very user friendly, and when you consider the fact that a whopping 90% of time spent on mobile is spent in apps, they are a great way to engage with your respondents. However, there are a number of advantages to using web-based software, too: Device agnostic software makes things quicker and easier for everyone - and remember, your busy HCPs will always want to go with the easiest option.
- Can it be white labelled?
When searching for the best software solution for your healthcare MROC, ideally you want software that offers white labelling so that you can present the platform as an extension of your own brand. Not only does this make the user experience totally seamless for your participants, but it also helps to boost your brand identity and prevent any potential confusion that might come with using third-party software.
- Are there suitable security measures in place?
Nowadays people do everything online, from grocery shopping to ordering repeat prescriptions and paying bills to arranging hospital appointments - which means that privacy and security measures are more important than ever before. This is especially true of market research online communities, and even more so in the healthcare sector where patients will share sensitive and personal information. To ensure you offer the necessary levels of privacy, look for software that provides a minimum 256 bit SSL encryption and consider password protection, too, along with respondent privacy for tasks that need to be kept private.Your software should also be able to offer community based and one-to-one settings as well.
- Does it offer a range of tasks?
If you want your patients to open up and share personal information and busy healthcare professionals to make time for your online community in the first place, you need to make sure they are interested and engaged in your market research project by making your tasks fun and interesting. Your software should support this and allow you to offer a variety of tasks to mix things up. Whether you’re getting insight into patients’ day-to-day lives and how they live with a particular condition through blogging or sharing insights over discussion forums, generating feedback and ideas through idea generation or scheduling mark up tasks to test feedback on ad concepts, variety is the spice of life!
- Can respondents delete or review things after they’ve been posted?
One of the biggest benefits of online communities that make them such a popular research methodology is that participants can easily share photos, graphics, videos and more - and as such your participants will be frequently asked to upload recordings that they have created on their own devices. As a result, it’s useful if they’re able to make changes to their uploads if they aren't happy with them or have uploaded something embarrassing by mistake. Not all software enables this, though - so if you decide it’s something that is important to your MROC then make sure you ask!
- How are files processed and accessed?
Where you can access files and in what format might not seem particularly important now, but trust us - when you are up against the clock and trying to use files that aren’t compatible with your editing software it can really slow you down. And these clunky processes aren’t just a pain for you - they can cause frustration and even dropouts in participants, too, especially HCPs who are busy enough without cumbersome software to contend with. Neither you or your respondents want to be bogged down with technical troubles - the focus should be on providing insightful responses and nothing else, so make sure you've got the technology in place to support this.
- How would you rate the software’s usability?
Saving the best till last - it all comes down to usability. Ask yourself one simple question before making your final selection - is the software easy to use for both your respondents and your clients? If not, it’s time to think again and look for another option. Easy-to-use software will result in increased engagement and fewer dropouts, so it’s well worth making sure. We would recommend seeing if you can get a trial so you can do a test drive and run a small test to see just how easy to use the tools are.
From accessibility and functionality to performance, security, cost and customisation, when it comes to choosing the right MROC software for your healthcare market research project there's a lot to think about. However, as long as you take your time and consider all the points above, you can be confident you are choosing the right software for your needs. If you’d like to take the stress out of your software selection, click below to download your free guide for our own online platform and discover a software solution that can support your medical market research from start to finish.