How to build a healthcare access panel!!!

Create a unique value proposition.

In recent times healthcare access panel is in great demand due to premium price it can fetch for a panel company. Although there are lots of Asian companies claiming to possess one but the authenticity of such claims are questionable. As a research panel buyer there are few tips in terms of choosing the right healthcare panel vendor also this article illustrates how such a niche segment panel can be recruited and maintained.

First let us look at the challenges in terms of recruiting healthcare panel specialists:

1- In Asian countries healthcare specialists are still from the old school of thought and are not comfortable with internet, therefore convincing them to participate in an online survey is quite difficult.

2- Healthcare specialists are quite busy and therefore are not easily persuaded to give time to fill up an online survey. Let us take a small example – a Delhi based doctor might be earning around USD 150 + for an hour will not be excited to participate in a survey with only a few dollars incentive.

3- As most of these specialists are very well off in the Asian markets therefore incentives / gifts are not a good carrot to recruit them for online surveys.


1- Think out of the box – tablet pc are quite popular in the medical community, first step will be to create a strong network of medical specialists who in exchange of these gifts will be participating in at least 2 surveys in a month.

2- Alternatively create an extensive network of field force that can carry this tablet pc to a doctor office that can then login and fill up the survey. This step will ensure a better response rate than merely sending email invites and reminders.

3- Instead of gifts it will be advisable to collaborate with any medical association and then one can freely distribute conference materials and reports which will be treasured more by a healthcare specialist.

Challenges in term of selecting right healthcare access panel provider:

1- Surprisingly many online panel companies are making preposterous claims of possessing healthcare panel. Now let us first understand how they are able to conduct such surveys. What basically companies are doing is that they win a project claiming to conduct it through online mode but in actuality are sending field interviewers to doctors for filling up a hardcopy questionnaire and then putting in the data in LIVE survey link.

2- Most of the time panel companies conduct such interviews from junior doctors or general practitioner who are not specialists in their field and therefore not the right target audience.

3- Sadly there are few panel companies in the Asian markets who are merely for a quick buck and therefore FUDGE up 50%-90% of the data.


1- Recruiting a healthcare access panel is a very COSTLY initiative which a small or a medium size company cannot afford. It is advisable to select a vendor which has certain history and credibility in the market instead of new players. I am not advising against using a comparatively new company but only in a scenario where they have some cutting edge methodology involved.

2- NEVER EVER FALL FOR THE TRAP OF MIXED-MODE METHODOLOGY – it actually is an offline field work only wrapped under the grab of conducting online interviews. Be firm that either it is completely ONLINE or no study at all.

3- Response rates for such studies are not more than 1%-3% therefore any vendor claiming the contrary is bound to be looked at with suspicion.

4- ALWAYS do some back checks – although most of the panel companies don’t share across the respondent information but this provision should be incorporated in the project proposal. I have conducted such back checks for my clients so I know that it is very much feasible. It might take some extra time to do so but it is worth the effort to ensure a high quality.

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About akshay kanyal
Understanding Survey Research

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