And my first argument is WHY SHOULD NOT YOU be sceptical!! If you have even the slightest idea of healthcare industry in Asia – you would realize that it is an almost impenetrable audience via online medium. Contrary to their western counterparts – Healthcare specialists are NOT internet savvy in Asia. They come from old school of thought and still technology – especially internet is an uncharted territory for them. The article illustrates reasons why you should be skeptical of online panel companies claiming to have built healthcare access panel in Asia.
First you have to understand the challenges of recruiting & maintaining a healthcare audience:
1- Healthcare specialists are NOT comfortable with internet. So inherent opposition for filling online surveys.
2- Incentives are not that much lucrative for Healthcare specialists who are financially doing well here in Asia.
3- A healthcare professional is extremely busy and would not be comfortable in filling out 40-50 minutes online surveys.
4- Most of the online panel companies have no historical experience in recruiting such audience.
5- Patients only of very generic diseases can be recruited online – I seriously doubt a terminally ill person would be looking to make money by filling online surveys.
6- Healthcare audience is not possible to be recruited via generic means like ad networks or via email marketing – any unconventional means therefore is going to COST a lot.
7- Even if somehow by magic you recruit them online – the response rate is pathetically low at 1-3% – almost non-existent. Making it impossible to have a sustainable business model.
8- As the healthcare specialists are extremely busy people they are not going to necessarily fill up your surveys when you want – so high probability of missing your client’s deadlines!!
9- A healthcare community is very limited in any Asian country – so very difficult to replenish your numbers.
10- There is no HOOK or attraction available for healthcare specialists to be part of the online community.
Right now you are thinking – “Then HOW come some online panel companies are claiming to have built healthcare access panels in Asia!!!”
To really understand the paradox you have to first recognize the REAL MOTIVE behind making such false claims.
There are basically 2 reasons:
1- A typical fieldwork data collection company would charge a client USD 7-10 for a GP – for a second leave aside the quality you would be getting.
But now if the same company claims to have a healthcare access panels they might end up getting USD 15-20 for the same audience.
So just by CLAIMING to have built online panels they are getting almost double the price!!
2- Some ‘smart’ online panel company owners are also doing the same thing – they claim to have built healthcare access panels in Asian region – but in actuality they collect data from fieldwork company and present it to you.
By making such FALSE CLAIMS they are making a huge profit from your IGNORANCE of the ground realities.
Right NOW you are thinking – “Why should I be bothered about this??”
There are 2 reasons why YOU should be:
1- Because of your vendor you have claimed to your end client that the study would be conducted ONLINE – but in reality it is conducted OFFLINE – your vendor is going to collect data by personally visiting the healthcare specialists and getting filled the hard copy of the questionnaire – later your vendor is going to punch the data in your survey link.
Here comes now the tricky part – imagine if your end client is tracking IP addresses – they are going to find that all the data has been punched from a single system!!!!
Now that would result in YOU doing lots of explanations and probably end up losing your client and reputation!!
2- Now as there is NO TRANSPARENCY in the claims of your vendor from the very start itself – there is a very high probability that your vendor in order to complete the study would end up fudging data – a situation you would not want to be in!!
Another ‘smart’ tactic used to FOOL you is to CLAIM: – “Sir as your target audience is difficult to achieve purely via online medium we suggest you MIXED MODE methodology” – for a second leave aside whether there would be methodology variation in the results or not – I ask you – is it so COMPULSARY to do the study ONLINE??
If it can’t be done online than what is the problem of conducting it completely offline?
Why are you HELL BENT upon the online methodology??
I am not even arguing the case of online panel companies making TALL claims about having a substantial healthcare access panels – in REALITY they have NONE!!!
That is the reason they would always and always suggest you MIX-MODE methodology – which in fact is nothing but a SCAM!!
Now that I have scared you about working with any Asian online panel company selling healthcare access panels – which was never ever my intention – I would like to present the other side of the picture also – there are good companies like ALL GLOBAL who have been able to recruit and maintain healthcare communities but such companies are rare in the market today!!
Healthcare research is a HUGE market and data collection is such an integral part of the research process.
I humbly suggest you to be skeptical of the TALL FALSE CLAIMS and try to look behind the real motives and credibility of such online panel companies.
5 Quick ways of SPOTTING a FAKE online panel company claiming to have built healthcare access panels in any Asian region:
1- No historical background in the healthcare domain!!
2- “About Us” section is EMPTY i.e. no mention of the owners of the company – most of the fake ones would NEVER ever specify it!
3- No break up of the healthcare panel would be given – they would simply claim: “we now have built healthcare access panel”!!
4- None of them would be a specialist company – they would CLAIM to be selling everything – from translation services to survey programming to healthcare panels.
5- No associations with known healthcare forums like EphMRA.
Now THINK HARD – do you want to be SCAMMED – I guess NOT!! – SO THINK twice about the claims online panel companies are making about having healthcare access panels!!
It is better to be SAFE than SORRY!!
Now you have a choice. You can comment, share, or implement. I prefer if you implement, but I’ll appreciate all three – Akshay Kanyal