Curing the Challenges of Interviewing Physicians for Your Next Market Research Project

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Medical research projects do not always go as planned. Just ask our team — physicians have challenging schedules and are notorious for cancelling interviews last minute, having to reschedule because of an emergency or, in some cases, flat out forgetting about a scheduled meeting.


We completely understand. They are busy saving lives. Our healthcare research team has dealt with plenty of adversity when getting in front of the right physician specialists for targeted research projects. Fortunately, through years of building the right relationships, our team has made inroads with specialists who can provide the right insights for a given research project.


But what to do when you are facing trials as a healthcare market researcher tracking down a physician to interview? We have some advice for you.


Be prepared to burn the midnight oil


Most physicians don’t work a typical 9 to 5 schedule. Those who are busy making rounds at hospitals and in the trenches with patients are going to be hard to track down at times. What we have found to be absolutely critical is to be flexible and pivot as needed.


The value we provide as professional market researchers is gathering the most relevant insights from the most influential people in a given industry. In the medical field, this is often a physician or specialist who can offer perspective on a new drug or treatment.


With that said, be prepared to burn the midnight oil and conduct interviews at odd hours. On one recent research project, our team needed to track down a number of hematologists across Russia to gain their perspective. It was not uncommon for us to be conducting phone interviews at 9 or 10 p.m. local time out of our office in Ekaterinburg to make the meetings happen. It’s part of our job and it’s how you’re going to get the information you need.


It’s December? Good luck tracking down physicians to interview


Not that it’s impossible — it’s just really, really difficult to get physicians around this time. They are balancing many events around the holidays. And, some of them need to work shifts around the holidays which means they may be with family a week or two before or after others are celebrating the season.


It is difficult to track down physicians during this time of the year. In some instances, they may even refuse to conduct an interview until things wind down for them. Again, you need to be flexible and fit this into your overall schedule for the research project.


Spotty internet can mean a spotty interview — so be ready to adapt


In some rural places, depending on the country, physicians don’t always have internet access. Other times, the internet they do have is so unreliable and slow that it isn’t really helpful. In this case, we lose time because it’s very slow. Spending the first 15 minutes of a 60 minute interview trying to get them to connect via a video call isn’t the greatest way to spend their precious time.


When some issues arise (like internet connection), respondents sometimes get nervous. Sometimes, they say (oh, it’s so difficult, maybe you should try to look for a new respondent). The key is to be patient with them, thank them for their time and walk them through the process as smoothly as you can (internet hiccups and all).


No, no, no! Don’t make the mistake of sending sensitive information via email


Even if you’re having challenges with internet connection, do not resort to sending any research questions via email if they are prohibited by the project. It may be tempting to try and finish the interview, but ensure you adhere to the standards outlined in your initial research project guidelines.
If it is in the research budget, consider sending someone to rural places and conducting a series of interviews over the course of a few days with the right physicians.


Final Thoughts


Two physicians might have vastly different interview preferences and experiences. When planning your research interviews, make sure you know the space your respondent occupies so you can personalize the interview. Be mindful of physician’s availability and technological capabilities and plan your project around them.


Even when you face adversity, be sure to thank your physician and remind them that their interview responses will help provide insights that can have a lasting impact in the medical world.


We have the resources to provide thorough healthcare market research. Contact our health care specialist and Project Manager Anna Shevalova at to learn more.