Back to News List


Reversing the decline in HCP participation

November 10th, 2017

Initial report of the BHBIA Response Rate Task Force

The BHBIA Response Rate Task Force has produced a full report: Reversing the decline in HCP participation. This Board-approved report reveals the immediate threat that dwindling HCP participation poses to the quality and validity of our findings. We need to act now to ensure the future credibility of our work, and to restore HCPs’ faith in our professionalism.  

The report’s recommendations were the culmination of many months work and based on BHBIA-sponsored qualitative and quantitative research amongst HCPs – including active, lapsed, and non-participants.

Overview of the findings

Healthcare market research is becoming slower, costlier and less credible as a result of an ongoing decline in the response of health professionals (HCPs) to our invitations to take part.

This threatens the quality and sustainability of healthcare market research. If we can re-engage with HCPs now, by addressing their concerns and showing them the value of their contributions, they will participate more often and encourage others to follow suit. The BHBIA Response Rate Task Force has undertaken qualitative and quantitative research to establish what is holding HCPs back, and what we must do.

It’s not about how much we pay them. What really matters is how we show that we value them, their time, and their expertise.

The frustration is with “screening”.  HCPs say it’s too long and stringent. Fixing it heads the top five changes we must make:

  1. Improve Screening: Target more effectively, tighten the control of screening questions, be flexible with quotas, and collaborate before fieldwork, to stop wasting HCPs’ time and improve data quality
  2. Be more open and honest about timings: To stop participants feeling they have been misled, or treated like a commodity
  3. Improve research design and minimise repetition: Not being bored or confused will help participants to engage more, and give better quality input
  4. Pay promptly: Being paid late or not at all is a real issue. Putting this right is fundamental to treating HCPs with professionalism and respect
  5. Make participation more convenient and comfortable: To enable more HCPs to participate, and demonstrate that we care about them

You can see the specific actions needed to achieve these, along with other recommended changes, in Key Findings and Recommendations and the summary chart on page 12 of the report.

Time for change

We have already acted, via a collaboration with the BHBIA and EphMRA Fieldwork Forums, on “Screener Design and Best Practice” guidance originated by that group. This highly practical document is in tune with our recommendations.

Please act now by reading this report, sharing its messages, and making the essential changes.

Download the full Response Rate Task Force report

Download a summary booklet with the main recommendations