There’s a lot to think about when conducting a medical market research project in a big city such as London. You might think that it is super easy to recruit in such a large city, but once you take into account the ever-increasing amount of qualifying criteria, it can actually become tricky whatever your chosen location. From the type of venue you choose to how many people you recruit, which specialist centres and hospitals you recruit from to any events occurring in the city that could impact your research on the day, there are lots of different things for medical market research companies to consider. Don’t worry though - with more than 25 years of experience, we’ve successfully conducted loads of healthcare market research projects in big cities and have gathered all of our top tips together right here so you can ensure your next medical market research project goes off without a hitch.
Top Tip 1: Research the centres you can recruit from
Whatever therapy area you are researching, it’s really important to consider the hospitals or treatment centres you can recruit from. This is especially important if you are planning to conduct one-on-one methodologies such as face-to-face interviews so you can get a better understanding of whether or not your sample size is achievable. For example, how many specialist centres are there in London? How many HCPs work in those centres? And how many specialists can you recruit from each centre? For example, there are only seven cystic fibrosis treatment centers in London, which has a massive impact on the amount of HCPs you can recruit if you’re restricted to one expert per location. In these types of scenarios, it might be worth relaxing your criteria and interviewing multiple respondents per hospital so you don’t limit your sample size. Useful resources to get an idea of who treats conditions and where include NHS Workforce Statistics, the NHS Digital Catalogue and Orphanet.
Top Tip 2: Think about accessibility
Even when conducting market research in London, it’s still important to choose a venue that works well for your respondents. Due to the cost, some medical market research companies prefer to choose venues just outside of London, however because these are harder to get to it can have a knock-on effect on response rates. If you want to make sure your medical market research works well for everyone, you need to make sure your respondents don't have to travel too far on the day. Busy HCPs or patients with conditions that make it difficult to travel might be reluctant to journey long distances, so we’d generally recommend finding a location that’s close to the hospital or a venue that’s not too far from home for patients. And of course, you also need to bear in mind that if you're dealing with low incidence diseases it might not even be possible to use a central location anyway because both patients and physicians will most likely be spread out across the country.
Top Tip Three: Consider the venue facilities
It’s not just accessibility you need to think about though. When it comes to conducting medical market research in London, you also need to make sure you choose a venue with facilities that meet your needs. For example, if you are working with RA patients or those with severe COPD, your chosen venue will need to have a lift. Likewise, is there wheelchair access for patients with mobility issues? Hearing and visual aid systems for those with visual impairments? Can your patients bring a carer with them on the day? And can you safely cater for people with allergies? These are all important things to consider that can prove tricky when finding a location that is available at the right price on the right day. This is why viewing facilities tend to be a popular choice because they are specifically designed for market research with one-way mirrors for client viewing, recording equipment and even catering - it’s all there ready and waiting to go, taking the stress out of your hands. Medical market research companies are usually able to take care of venue management for you, so it’s always worth asking your chosen fieldwork supplier if they can help out or at least point you in the right direction!
Top Tip Four: Make sure you over-recruit
However big the city you conduct your research in, healthcare market research is a niche area that comes with its own unique situations and scenarios. That means as well as the day-to-day issues you might encounter when it comes to running healthcare MR projects in London such as tube delays, traffic jams and busy schedules, you’ll also have to deal with problems unique to healthcare such as specialists being pulled into emergency surgery or patients being too unwell to attend. The fact of the matter is that no one wants to scramble around trying to find replacement participants at the last minute - especially when dealing with the often complicated and specific criteria that comes hand in hand with medical market research. That’s why we recommend our clients always over-recruit to make sure you're prepared for every eventuality and have fully validated respondents who tick all the right boxes on hand should anything go wrong. Find out more about over-recruits here.
Top Tip Five: Allow for events that might impact your research
Last but not least, make sure you have a look at what else is going on in the city at the same time as your research. For example, are there any conferences or events taking place that could mean HCPs and specialists are already busy? Or perhaps there are similar medical market research projects going on at the same time that could result in overexposure? These things will all impact the success of your research, so it’s really important to be aware of what’s going on in your chosen location. In addition, other things to consider include more general events that aren’t limited to the healthcare industry such as tube strikes or other occasions that could cause transport problems and make it harder for your respondents to get to or take part in your research.
In conclusion, although you might think that conducting medical market research in London makes it easier to recruit respondents, there are still a lot of different factors to take into consideration to make sure you recruit the right respondents and that your research runs smoothly on the day. If you're thinking about conducting a medical market research project and would like to find out more about how to ensure you find the right people for your study, download our healthcare market research recruitment roadmap to find out everything you need to know about the entire recruitment process.