September 23, 2023 Cue Insights

Addressing Challenges in Oncology Market Research

Recruitment and respondent quality in healthcare market research are becoming increasingly challenging roads to navigate, especially for physician respondents in highly specialized fields such as oncology. The challenges are amplified by the rapid pace of pharmacological innovation, which drives the need for increased insights, more survey invitations, and longer surveys – all resulting in added pressure on oncologists’ limited time.

Here are some practical tips for alleviating key challenges in oncology market research related to recruitment and data quality. Following these guidelines will give you:

1) Higher-quality and better-validated physician insights

2) Higher level of respondent engagement

Reaching High-Quality, Validated Physicians

Respondent validation and fraud mitigation are essential components of the recruitment process. Despite the sophisticated targeting and validation techniques utilized during panel membership processes and recruitment (e.g., matching AMA Medical Education numbers), 5% – 20% of respondents making it into an HCP survey can still be fraudulent. Accordingly, additional measures are needed to improve respondent quality.

A 2-pronged approach to both validation and quality control is recommended at the fieldwork stage.  First, employ a series of automated quality control checks in the survey itself, such as flagging speeders and straightliners. Once this initial batch of respondents is removed, undergo a more hands-on manual process of reviewing the completed surveys for poor quality open end responses and other data checks.

Click here for more details on how to avoid respondent fraud.

Ensuring Respondent Engagement

Once you have the right oncologists to take your survey, it is just as important to provide them with a highly engaging survey and compelling honoraria. Not only will their heightened engagement lead to better quality data, but it can also reduce longer term burn-out from these in-demand respondents.

Ensuring respondent engagement can be accomplished through a combination of questionnaire length, survey design, and unique incentives.

  • Questionnaire Length. As a standard practice, respondent engagement (and therefore data quality) is highest when quantitative surveys are less than 20 minutes. For oncologists and other specialized healthcare providers, even 15 minutes can be a lot to ask.
  • Survey Design. Make the most of physicians’ time by asking direct questions, mixing standard question formats with engaging technology such as mixed-media integration, and ensuring a mobile-friendly interface. Interactive survey elements can also help motivate more engagement during unstructured questions, such as an open end encouragement tool (i.e., providing dynamic prompts of encouragement as a respondent types in an open ended response, in order to stimulate more detailed and higher quality responses).
  • Unique Incentives. Incentives are another critical component to attracting fresh, engaged, and thoughtful respondents. Cue Insights has found that the standard cash incentive at a fair market value is not always going to move the needle when it comes to motivating physicians to give up their precious time. Other creative approaches can be strong motivators, such as communicating the value that their feedback provides to the advancement of innovation in their field or the enhancement of their patients’ experiences. As science-minded individuals, these respondents may also find value in receiving aggregated results of the study themselves and an understanding that their contribution will be rewarded through knowledge and education.

Cue Insights’ dedicated team of experts in quality recruitment practices and respondent engagement ensures value for both our clients and the physicians who take our surveys.


Have questions about reaching oncologists or other specialized healthcare providers? Email to schedule a consultation.



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