Recruiting Respondents for Medical Device Market Research

Louise Principe
Aug 23, 2021

Every year, the regulations guiding medical market research increase exponentially. It’s become clear that speaking with doctors alone is no longer enough, especially for medical devices that come into contact with multiple types of people.

But who are these people you should approach to ensure your medical device testing covers all your bases? And more importantly, at what point in your research should you be approaching them? We’ve got all the details in this simple and practical four-point cheat sheet.

1. Medical Doctors, Nurses, and Residents

First and foremost, it’s important to get feedback from the lead users of your device which would typically be medical doctors, nurses, and residents. How your device is maneuverable and works around the physical limitations of medical professionals and hospitals is paramount as these devices are often used directly on patients and could affect their treatment, recovery, or overall health. However, the challenge lies in getting medical professionals to participate in your healthcare market research.

Here are some obstacles you may encounter:

•    High refusal rates

    • Medical professionals are busy and their schedules often don’t permit the kind of time commitment that in-depth interviews and focus groups require
  • •    High costs
    • Doctors, nurses, and medical residents make a living out of their craft. Would your offered incentive be sufficient to cover the loss of profit they would incur by attending your interviews instead of working on duty?
  • •   Possible delays
    • Since your IDIs and FGs would have to be kept short to cater to busy schedules, you would likely have to keep your research simple and break it into phases to get the depth of feedback you need from these respondents

      That being said, it isn’t an impossible task to get these professionals to participate. If you’re at a loss on how to proceed, the best course of action would be to get in touch with your local research facility and see what measures they have in place to ease the process of medical device testing and recruitment.
  1. 2. Maintenance Technicians and Inventory Store Managers

Next up on your list of people to tap for your research agenda would be maintenance technicians and inventory store managers. These are the professionals who will be handling your devices when they’re not being used by doctors and patients. Their feedback is essential because their back-end support is what dictates how well your medical device will do and last in a clinic or hospital setting. A medical device that can’t be maintained by a technician isn’t a good investment. Similarly, if inventory store managers see how difficult a medical device is to work around, they would not order more stocks of one.

Getting feedback on how both professions deal with currently released medical devices could help you adapt your medical device to their standards. Luckily, these professionals tend to be more flexible with their schedules and would more easily be able to attend a lengthy IDI or FG.

  1. 3. Administrators and Procurement

After your maintenance technicians and inventory store managers, the next professionals you want to invite to your study would be medical administrators and procurement. These are the people who deal with pricing on a regular basis for medical devices. They would be able to tell you what similar devices are currently priced at in the market and whether the price you’re going for is sustainable and attractive to hospitals and clinics. It’s important to keep in mind that too low of a price could trick your buyers into assuming a lack of quality in your medical device while too high of a price would make it difficult to justify paying for if there are cheaper and more feasible alternatives.

If you can’t get a hold of administrators and procurement professionals in established hospital and clinic settings, third-party and freelance providers would do as well.

4. Patients

Last but not least, your medical device testing will have to include feedback from the patients of these health services and establishments as your device would primarily be used on them. The feedback you’ll be looking for should pertain to product development and customer experience design.

A quick rule of thumb is to design your interview discussion guides for these respondents in a way that maps out the patient journey. You’ll know you have good data when you have input on the various stages of care, what obstacles patients had to overcome, and how those obstacles made them feel.

Stages of Care include:

  • •    The beginning onset of symptoms
  • •    The process of diagnosis and therapy
  • •    The aftermath of complete recoveries or adjustments to a new way of life

Patient respondents would probably be the easiest to convince to participate out of the professionals listed above. When in doubt, it never hurts to get in touch with your local research facility to find out more.

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