How Does a ‘Detailed Follow Up’ Work?

LDA Research Helps You to Assess the Impact of Product Communications

One aspect of the work we do at LDA Research is to support pharmaceutical companies in bringing new products to market. We may be asked to carry out competitor analysis, or develop research which supports decisions on how the product is positioned in the market. Our qualitative research helps to ensure that messaging is clear and that it addresses the issues that healthcare professionals and their patients are keen to address.

Equally important though, is knowing how existing products are being promoted to healthcare professionals, and the impact a given product is having on the market as a whole. This is revealed through the use of pharma rep assessments, or Detailed Follow Ups (DFUs). They are carried out to provide our pharmaceutical clients with detailed reporting on the level of influence and sales success their marketing strategy is achieving with HCPs.

The Role of the Medical Sales Representatives

The medical sales representative is a lynchpin in the success of a new pharmaceutical product. They are the link between the producers of the product, and the sector consumers. Unlike more traditional salesman, the pharmaceutical rep has an educative and strategic role to play:

  • Education. The sales rep keeps physicians, GPS and pharmacists informed as to the latest developments in the pharmaceutical sector. This occurs in one-to-one meetings, or organised group events.
  • Connectors. Sales reps connect healthcare professionals with the latest research, drugs and treatment which benefit their patients. Pharma reps will often present at conferences.
  • Providers. Of course, the sales rep is also the provider of new pharmaceutical products to major healthcare buyers such as the NHS.

Clear Messaging for Pharma Reps

Pharma reps build up a network of trusted HCP networks over time. The endorsements they are able to give to products has the potential to impact sales within their geographical region. For this reason, it’s hugely important that the positioning of new products, and the research that supports them, is persuasive and readily available to pharma reps.

Detailed Follow Ups are a popular way for pharmaceutical companies to find out how their product is being introduced to healthcare professionals. The key questions to address are:

  • How does the product perform against its competitors?
  • What impact is the agreed positioning of the product having?
  • Are healthcare professionals recognising the full range of benefits the product offers?

How Does a ‘Detailed Follow Up’ Work?

One potential way to do to assess a products impact would be to ask the pharma reps themselves. However, the only clear indication reps have of their success, is through sales.

Alternatively LDA’s market research work would normally approach the buyers of pharmaceutical products, rather than the sellers. This is because we are looking for a nuanced understanding of the impact or a marketing strategy. Any new product takes time to impact the market through sales, so DFUs are looking for HCP impressions and buying signals that register future intent.

DFUs – The Process

LDA Research provides Detailed Follow Ups on a regular basis for our pharmaceutical clients. They take the form of meetings with groups of healthcare professionals or individual discussions via telephone. Our assessments follow up on scheduled promotions of a product. Their function is to discover the impact their promotion has had on medical consumers.

Our high calibre moderators all have long experience in the healthcare sector, either through research or practical experience, and they’re able to engage interviewees in informed discussion. Our questions will test:

  • The technical and selling skills of the rep
  • The quality of the sustained relationship the rep has with the interviewee
  • The materials used by sales reps
  • The impact of the messaging
  • The sales impact of the rep’s promotion on the interviewee

Questioning will focus on the quality of the pharma rep’s work, but will also assess, indirectly:

  • The competitiveness of the brand position
  • The credibility of the brand positioning
  • The perceived value of the product

Reporting on DFUs

Key to any DFU research is the insight into the interviewee’s intention to prescribe the given medicine. Our questioning is also designed to reveal what the key elements are that are driving that intention.

Our reports provide clients with the detailed information they need to support, revise and strengthen medical marketing to ensure maximum impact for their product.

Face-to-Face Interviews and Focus Groups

Face-to-Face Interviews and Focus Groups

The quality of medical market research is determined largely by the context in which it is gathered. The qualitative research team at LDA has been conducting interviews via phone, web, and in person for a good while now, and we all agree that the medium of communication plays in important role in the type, and richness of the information gathered.

Our aim is always to be the ‘eyes and ears’ that our clients need, wherever they need them. We have professional interviewers available globally to carry out international face-to-face interviews, and we’ll source focus groups where required to provide local specialist knowledge.

Carrying out qualitative research face-to-face with individuals or groups is a specialist skill which we prize in our research associates. The data which emerges from this context includes the enhanced communicative techniques of body language, facial expression and eye contact.

Face-to-Face In-Depth Interviews

This is one of the oldest and most respected methods of qualitative research. The interview takes place in a space which is pre-agreed with the interviewee, and often it’s at their home or place of business in order to make them feel entirely at ease. The interview would normally last between 60-90 minutes and takes the form of a meaningful discussion, rather than simply providing a list of questions.

Where face-to-face in-depth interviews are concerned we are reliant on our specialist, professional interviewers who bring medical experience in the form of research or practical experience to their role. We need them to be able to draw out insights through the use of discussion around a series of pre-agreed questions. Additionally we ask them to supplement their findings through noting visual communication in the form of smiles, closing of the body, or avoidance of eye contact.

LDA – Face-to-Face In-Depth Interview Example

  • We recently carried out a series of face-to-face interviews with GPs and pharmacists in Manchester, UK. The topic of the discussion was ‘over the counter medicines’.

Focus Group Interviews

Focus groups are an excellent way to garner a range of opinions from a cross-section of interviewees on a research topic in the medical devices or pharmaceutical sector. In order to facilitate a focus group, the timing and venue for the research needs to be carefully chosen in order to allow the maximum number of attendees to be there. The timing and management of the event is crucial for maximum value within a limited time frame.

The aim of the focus group discussion is to encourage participants to their own views without fear, listen to the views of others receptively, and openly agree or disagree without becoming too vociferous. This requires an experienced moderator who is confident when dealing with groups. One of the greatest dangers of the focus group is that the attendees drift off-topic; with this in mind we always create a tight structure for our moderator to work with.

LDA – Focus Group Example

  • We recently carried out some focus group research with nurses, pharmacists and ICU consultants on the topic of parental nutrition.

LDA Matches the Mode of Communication to the Research Project

Our research team has been delivering high quality medical market research for a while now, and we’re able to provide clients with evidence-based advice on which interview methods work best for the type of research they wish to pursue. We carry out face-to-face and focus group interviews wherever they need to happen, and we have an extremely high success rate when it comes to sourcing participants, and experienced moderators and interviewers.

Using TDIs, CATIs and WATIs for Healthcare Market Research

Using TDIs, CATIs and WATIs for Healthcare Market Research

At LDA Research we’ve built an enviable reputation for accessing patients and healthcare professionals from across the world. Our clients come to us for global intelligence and we utilise a range of methodologies that facilitate international market research in healthcare.

Much of the research we are asked to undertake in the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors, is qualitative. This requires that our specialist moderators engage in depth with the ideas, values and issues that are driving the healthcare profession within their geographical context.

Whilst we can’t always be face-to-face with interviewees who are part of our international network, we maintain the goal of detailed, informed discussion. In this blog we’ll be discussing our use of the phone as a way to glean local specialist knowledge.

Telephone Depth Interviewing (TDI)

These can be scheduled to suit the interviewee, and can happen in a location that suits them. The aim of a TDI is to achieve the equivalent of a face-to-face interview, over the phone. LDA Research always uses professional interviewers with experience in healthcare research, or practice, to ensure that the interview digs down to draw out insights that will aid the research goals.

As the aim is to create a detailed discussion, we use topic briefs rather than structured questionnaires on TDIs. The interviewer will offer the option to use video on the call, which allows them to view body language, but if the interviewee is uncomfortable with this, it isn’t essential. The crucial thing is to develop a rapport on the phone, which will allow for a free-flowing discussion of ideas, opinions and values.

LDA TDI Examples

  • Telephone interviews with ophthalmologists in Germany and the UK on the topic of non-infectious uveitis
  • Telephone interviews with epileptologists in UK on the topic of paediatric focal seizures

Web Assisted Telephone Interviewing (WATI)

These are one-to-one or group telephone interviews utilising information which is shared via the internet. These might take the form of a survey, or the interviewer might present – for example – pricing guides or advertising images, and the interviewee will be asked to respond to prompts, or questions related to the material.

This approach has the advantage of allowing both parties to share web material in real time. The online content is then enriched by the addition of a specific context, or a particular line of questioning. This approach can also be used for research groups, where a survey is completed anonymously but the aggregate results are fed back, inviting discussion, in the course of the session.

LDA WATI Examples:

  • Web assisted telephone interviews with cardiac surgeons and cardiac anaesthetists in the UK, on the topic of prophylactic treatments for blood loss.
  • Web Assisted Telephone Interviews in the UK with ICU pharmacists and dieticians on the topic of parental nutrition

Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI)

This approach utilises a pre-written survey which the interviewer presents to the interviewee. Computer software provides the interviewer with a script which offers an introduction to the survey, any special instructions (if the answers are going to be timed, for example), as well as the questions themselves.

Whilst this approach is more formal than the TDIs or WATIs, there is still the opportunity for interventions, where appropriate. Certain answers may prompt additional questions, or become the precursor for a follow-up call. All the responses offered by respondents are entered online by the interviewer as the survey progresses.

LDA CATI Examples

  • Computer assisted telephone interviews with Irish pharmacists on the topic of chemotherapy compounding
  • Computer assisted telephone interviews in USA with ICU, OR, ER, med-surge nurses and nurse managers, CNOs, respiratory therapists, biomedical engineers and purchasers on the topic consumables

LDA Research Puts the Research First

As a medical market research agency, we’re known for our tenacity when it comes to accessing the views and opinions our clients need. We have a range of approaches which can be customised to suit the particular needs of interviewees, and the research itself.

medical device market research

Medical Device Market Research

LDA Research was set up in 2011, in Bedfordshire, and for the past 7 years the core team has been pursuing their passion globally. We’re lucky enough to spend our time providing specialist qualitative research for the rapidly growing medical device sector. Every member of the team is committed to providing high quality, bespoke market research solutions for management consultants, design agencies, advertising companies, medical clients and health market research agencies.

Why Use Qualitative Research?

Qualitative medical device marketing research depends upon person-to-person interaction as a means of garnering opinions, motivations, ideas and themes active in the target group for any new medical device. It’s a highly effective methodology for understanding customer satisfaction, sector pricing intelligence, market attractiveness, innovation assessment and perceived use value.

We pride ourselves on the responsive nature of our research methodology, and on our ability – as a team – to tailor our research to the business needs of our clients. That may mean accessing hard-to-reach patients, incorporating tech in innovative ways or moving beyond our database to reach out to participants in regions, or countries that we haven’t worked with before. As a research team we love a challenge, and we keep going until we get what our clients need!

Quantitative Medical Device Market Research for Development

Clients often ask us to find out for them where the greatest unmet needs are in a particular area. This may feed into an R&D process, or it may be at the stage of fine tuning of a device which has already been developed. Dependent on the research aims, we would normally seek to conduct phone, web conferencing, or face-to-face interviews with healthcare professionals, and thought leaders operating within the appropriate professional environment.

Qualitative Research for Usability Testing

Regulation (EU) 2017/745 has raised the European bar for the usability testing of medical devices. We are, therefore, seeing a heightened demand from our clients for device simulations. Being able to see how patients interact with a new product or device provides valuable information to developers and marketers. The ensuing report will often lead to an understanding of training requirements, or refinements needed in the way the device is packaged or presented for use.

Qualitative Patient Focused Research

We have a great track record for pulling together patient focus groups either as online forums, or – if the geographical dispersion is local, or national – as part of a workshop. This methodology is particularly useful where a training need has been identified and the training programme has been designed. Patients will often point out crucial issues that have been overlooked by developers, or use their first hand experience to provide solutions to challenges that have been bugging the development team.

Post Launch Qualitative Research

We can help with the entire product lifecycle, providing accurate, authentic medical market research. Once a device is launched, we are often asked to carry out ‘follow-on’ research with patients using it. We’re always particularly interested in the data provided by people who have ceased to use the product, or those who are aware of the product but have not yet decided to adopt it.

Skilled Moderators are Key to Effective Medical Device Market Research

The skill of the researcher is always paramount to achieving effective result in ethnographic qualitative research. We take care to recruit moderators and interviewers who have a background in either medical research or specialist healthcare. This professional expertise allows them to ask detailed – and at times – probing questions of clients. Granular responses help developers understand to what degree their product is supporting the patient and fulfilling the needs of the market.