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Five tips to make your healthcare market research strike proof

From the ongoing issues with junior doctors to all-too-frequent transport strikes, you don’t need us to tell you how much of an inconvenience striking is for market research- especially when it comes to healthcare market research. After all, how are you supposed to reach out to consultants who are busy covering junior doctors’ shifts, or junior doctors themselves when they are catching up with their workload after a week of strike action?

Due to the increase of strikes across various sectors (transport, health and education) it’s easy to see why healthcare market research professionals are nervous about the impact of strikes. But in our experience, even if there is a strike, it doesn’t mean that your healthcare market research needs to be cancelled or even dramatically affected. Read on for our top five tips on how to manage the impact of strikes on your research;

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1) Know your deadlines

If you already know that a strike is going to or is likely to take place during your research, it’s common sense to let your respondents know this as early as possible, ideally at recruitment stage or during the initial screener. By ensuring respondents have all the information up front, they are able to plan accordingly which will help to reduce dropouts further down the line.

For example, if a HCP knows that there is going to be a doctor’s strike on a certain date, they can assess the likelihood of them having to cover any additional shifts and make a decision early on as to whether they are able to take part. Likewise, if respondents know about planned transport strikes in advance they will have the opportunity to look into alternative travel routes and options.

2) Be sure to over-recruit

This goes without saying to ensure you are prepared for any dropouts – and it might even be worth over recruiting on individual interviews as well as group sessions to make sure you are as prepared as possible. You could even consider having the option of a telephone interview during the central location – that way if someone is unable to get away from work or make their way to the location due to the strikes, they may instead be able to spare the time for a  telephone call. Not only does this mean that the client can still listen in, but they’ll also still be able to get all the data on the same day as the rest of the interviews so there aren’t any hold-ups in the research schedule.

Healthcare Market Research

3) Consider your scheduling

In the event of a strike, it’s best to have a variety of time slots available to ensure the most amount of respondents can attend, even if not at the time originally planned. You might want to consider having two rooms if you are arranging focus groups or individual interviews at a location so there are more time slots available, as well as being more flexible with interview times – evening time slots will always be a good option for HCPs covering daytime clinics, for example.

If you are carrying out your healthcare market research across multiple locations, you may even want to consider moving dates around to avoid strikes in certain areas – it might seem like a lot of effort now, but it will be worth it in the long run.

4) Make your confirmation fool proof

A normal confirmation process for healthcare market research would generally include three points of contact prior to the research – however, if you know there is going to be a strike, we would recommend that you increase this amount and make the contact more regular as well as varying your approach.

For example, a text message could be a good option for time-pressured HCPs during a strike who are much more likely to respond with a quick yes or no to determine their attendance rather than a telephone call or email.

5) Don’t panic!

Last but not least, the most important tip we can give you – don’t panic! A strike, although unfortunate and inconvenient, doesn’t necessarily mean that your healthcare market research is doomed. As long as you make sure you are fully prepared and have some alternative options in place, there is no need to cancel your healthcare market research project. Trust us – we’ve conducted plenty of projects during strikes and more often than not the research has gone ahead completely unaffected.

So, you’ve got our top tips for knowing what to do if a strike happens during your research. You also need to make sure you have the right respondents attending so download our panel book to see who we can give you access to:

Medical Market Research