Ask the expert: Healthcare data collection

Stefan Cave, Client Operations Manager and Healthcare Subject Matter Expert with Kantar's Profiles division, breaks down what healthcare researchers should take from modern survey best practices.
27 March 2019
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Jacqui Amaral

Marketing Manager, Boston, US

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Conducting quantitative and qualitative research can be a unique process when targeting healthcare audiences, such as physicians, payers, key opinion leaders and patients. Best practices and techniques we use for consumer research can also be applicable to these audiences.

Stefan Cave, Client Operations Manager and Healthcare Subject Matter Expert with Kantar's Profiles division, breaks down what healthcare researchers should take from modern survey best practices, the importance healthcare double opt-in panels have on qualitative research and how the healthcare industry can take advantage of integrated data solutions.

Is there a difference to approaching survey design when engaging a healthcare audience versus a consumer audience?

In short, no. Too often, design concessions are made when targeting a professional audience based on the solemnity of the survey topic. However, Healthcare Professionals are regular people, just like us. They spend a lot of time on their smart phones, just like us. They’re pushed for time, just like us. We should design surveys in the same way we approach consumer work, focusing on: narrative, engagement and device agnosticism.

How can technology play a role in engaging healthcare audiences?

The proliferation of technology has never been more exciting in research. It can be used to drive engagement, glean enriched responses and produce top quality data. It may not come as a surprise that this applies to a healthcare audience too! When designing research, we can use video open-ends to replace a tradition written open-end. These tools often come with software for further analysis. We can also use emotional coding technology to capture legitimate emotional responses to video stimulus. These solutions can better help answer the research objective.

With data privacy being a primary concern for researchers today, permission-based data sources have never been more important. How does Kantar ensure we’re providing high-quality, validated healthcare respondents and data sources?

Our Healthcare Panel Team work tirelessly to ensure we provide high quality data. From registration to retirement, our respondents are subject to a rigorous verification process. Our respondents double opt-in and we verify their details: name, work place address and medical license number/certificate before a single research participation email is sent. Throughout our respondent’s journey we regularly update their personal and contact information to ensure we are interacting with the right person at the right time.

There are benefits when using a supplier with a verified double opt-in panel of Physicians, Payers, Patients & KOLs to conduct qualitative research. Why is that?

It’s simple. Through the double opt-in verification process, you can be confident that the professionals are:

  • Legitimate
  • Credible
  • Interested

From KOLs to GPs, when you engage with professionals who are also double opt-in panelists, you are reaching out to those who genuinely want to shape their industry for the better.

What was the most common mistake you saw in 2018 regarding the execution of qualitative research among healthcare professionals, and what can researchers do to avoid it?

A common mistake we see is conducting interviews in non-native languages and dialects. Although it may save on costs when you don't, it’s important to ask whether anything is lost in translation. Are the questions being understood correctly? Is the respondent able to convey what they truly mean in their non-native tongue? Are we limiting who we approach by only targeting multi-linguals?

Ensure you're using highly skilled translators and moderators that will ask the right questions, in the right language, to deliver more insightful and valuable data.

We know that connecting survey data with other insights sources helps capture a holistic view of a target audience. How do you see integrating data sources being most useful for healthcare research?

Just as with consumer research, third-party data sources are available under the healthcare umbrella (i.e. patient records, etc.) that can be applied to patients profiles. When we think of building robust healthcare profiles efficiently while maximizing ROI, we think of three key benefits:

  • The complete diagnosis: understanding the individual and all the factors that drive their decisions, gaining commercial advantage and a holistic view of target groups
  • Getting to the heart of the matter: appending additional data sources to survey data allows you to only ask what you need to ask, but save time and money while enhancing profiles
  • A targeted approach: identification of bespoke audiences for effective media targeting


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