GKA Blog

Children and young people are a vital demographic in all fields of market research; they often give more honest answers than adults and can provide a wealth of insights and information. However, conducting medical market research with younger demographics - is a very sensitive process and not without its share of difficulties. Not only are there a number of rigorous rules and regulations that must be followed to ensure the safe and ethical conduction of research, but it is often much harder to communicate with children and analysing the information gathered can also be problematic.

According to the latest Cystic Fibrosis Trust figures, there are currently over 10,000 people diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis in the UK, five babies are born with CF each week, and two people die.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) were established following the introduction of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, replacing Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) as the organisations responsible for the delivery of a large percentage of healthcare services for the population in their local area. Led by General Practitioners, and supported by a range of other healthcare professionals, CCGs work closely with a range of other public and private bodies, including local authorities and the voluntary sector, to plan, commission and deliver services. How have CCGs evolved since their inception? The most significant change since their inception is the involvement of CCGs in the co-commissioning primary care services. Previously undertaken solely by NHS England, 64 CCGs have now committed to a new joint commissioning arrangement that will see frontline medical practitioners having more of a say in the nature of the primary care services they can purchase and deliver. Around 70% of all CCGs throughout England are now involved in primary care planning in some capacity, and also deal with a range of other issues such as individual funding requests (for particular treatments or pharmaceutical products).

During the 19th Century there was a growing sense that universal healthcare provision was the sign of a civilised society. However, it wasn't until the Second World War, which saw the introduction of a widespread emergency medical service and led to major systemic changes in society, that the foundations of the NHS were truly laid. So in 1948, the old mix of paid-for and charitable provision was replaced by a national healthcare provision that was free to all, something that remains the largest publicly funded healthcare service in the world. Within the British healthcare service, there is a structured medical hierarchy that until 2005 had changed little over the decades, with NHS doctors categorised according to their level of training, experience and specialty.

What is purchasing and procurement? Purchasing and procurement refers to the process of acquiring different goods, works and services to help support the clinical priorities, health and wellbeing outcomes, and organisational objectives of the NHS. It is separate from commissioning, which is the process of determining the healthcare needs of the local population and providing the services to do so. Purchasing and procurement arrangements compliment commissioning arrangements to ensure that Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) can serve their local populations appropriately.

Market research online communities (MROCs) are bringing healthcare market research into the 21st century, offering an innovative way for researchers to take advantage of the fact that today we are living in a digital world. As we discussed in a previous blog, market research online communities are employing web interfaces and social media tools to learn directly from patients about their experiences.

What is commissioning? At its most basic level, commissioning is the process of planning, agreeing, buying and monitoring healthcare provision in order to meet the needs of patients in England. This involves commissioning or developing services within the internal NHS market, and also buying in services from private providers.

In today's healthcare environment, patient empowerment is a top concern. Pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers often tout it, advising patients that they can and should be directly involved in deciding on their treatment options. Even the government is actively encouraging patient choice and working to educate people on how they can select their own GPs, hospitals, consultants, and treatments.

Cancer remains the second largest cause of death in the UK. While diagnosis and treatments continue to improve thanks to the work done by world-leading researchers and specialist experts, there is still much to learn, and a very long way to go, before we can completely defeat this dreadful disease. One scientific area that may yet prove to be highly influential in discovering a cure for cancer is cancer stem cell research. One place dedicated to pioneering, world-leading research and improving our understanding of the role cancer stem cells play is the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute.

Incidence rate in epidemiology can be confusing to say the least. In healthcare and the study of disease, an incidence rate refers to the rate of newly diagnosed cases of a disease or illness. It is generally reported as the number of new cases occurring within a certain period of time.