One of the key segments of the healthcare industry is the development and production of new medicines and devices for monitoring, diagnostics, and other healthcare purposes. According to J.P. Morgan, the Food and Drug Administration approves an average of 20 to 25 new drugs each year. From 2015 to 2019, however, the average approvals per year went up to 40 to 50
This fast rate of drug development is good news for the public as it could mean medicines for newly discovered diseases and improved formulations of existing drugs. But to keep producing high-quality drugs and healthcare devices, pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of medical equipment must first learn if there is a need for a product; if patients or their caretakers can benefit from it and if they can generate a profit by producing it, among other things.
They get their answers to these questions through healthcare market research. This is why healthcare researchers recruit patients with rare diseases to participate in market studies: they and pharmaceutical companies need honest, unbiased, first-hand information from patients to develop medicines or devices that can cure diseases.
If a recruiter comes asking you to participate in a market study for healthcare researchers, consider accepting the offer. You may enjoy the following benefits:
- You can contribute to developing new treatment for which you and other people can benefit. Your honest feedback as a patient can give scientists and doctors insights on how to make medicines more effective and improve what can be improved in treatment plans (e.g., prescribe medicines that will have zero adverse effects on patients).
- You can raise your concerns and complaints to the people who can make a difference. If you think that a certain drug is not worth the adverse effects it inflicts on patients; if a monitoring device is uncomfortable to wear, or if the standard treatment for your illness is too expensive for the average citizen, you can make all of these known to pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers through your interviews or survey answers.
- You may have the opportunity to participate in experimental treatment with little or zero cost to you. When you join in healthcare market research, recruiters will have your information on file. Should the pharma companies say that their new medicines are ready, and they need willing patients to use these new drugs for their treatment, the recruiters can refer you to them (but only with your consent).
- You could get financial compensation. Depending on who’s funding the study, the duration, and the type of participation that will be asked of you (e.g., daily logs, one-hour interviews each week for x number of months, annual follow-up meetings for x number of years), you could get paid for your time and participation.
- You can meet people who’re taking the same treatment or experiencing the same illness as you. When you’re battling a rare disease, it can be hard to make people understand what you’re going through. Fellow patients can be a support system with whom you can share your thoughts and worries. They can also be your sounding board along with your doctors and help you make sound decisions about your treatment.
- You’ll know of alternative treatments and be more active in your own healthcare. Participating in healthcare research will make you aware about new treatments, increase your knowledge about existing drugs and wearable devices, and more. You’ll know what to expect regarding side effects and efficacy. You can also have in-depth discussions with your doctors about your treatment and express your preferences.
Who Can Participate in Healthcare Market Research?
Since patients are major consumers of the healthcare industry, they are usually the ones that get recruited for healthcare market research, especially regarding rare diseases.
Researchers may also recruit other respondents, such as:
- Patients’ families
- Nurses and care providers
- Doctors and specialists
- Hospital board members
These research studies are usually conducted as one-on-one interviews, surveys, and focus group discussions. These interviews can be single affairs or conducted repeatedly over a specified period.
All personal information of the participants is kept confidential. All the information gathered from these interviews will be used to help pharmaceutical companies or manufacturers decide which medical drug to develop next or discover how to improve their existing products.
You have plenty to gain and nothing to lose by participating in market research for the healthcare industry. When the opportunity comes, it will benefit you and many more to give your valuable and honest feedback to researchers.