IntelliQ Health has been a leader in online market research since the mid 90's.  We were one of the first to create online panels and were early presenters at the A.C. Nielsen Center for Online Market Research (www.bus.wisc.edu/nielsencenter) when Internet market research was just starting. Today online market research is commonplace and has established itself as a viable method for collecting market information in healthcare.  In fact, IntelliQ Health has fielded hundreds of internet surveys throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Online Quantitative Studies
There are many ways to conduct quantitative online research (e.g. email surveys, fax to domain, phone to domain, use of a controlled panels, etc.).  IntelliQ Health's online experts will recommend the best method for reaching the targeted respondents.  Also, we make certain that the cross section of respondents is truly representative of the target market. 

To be successful with an online study, it is important to remember the following:

  • Questionnaires must be kept short, focused, and easy to understand, especially with healthcare studies.  For instance, if asking a physician or nurse a question about a particular procedure or technique, the questions must be very precise and technically correct.  Otherwise, the answers derived are likely to be off subject and not useful.
  • Open-ended questions should be kept to a minimum. While online open-ended answers can be quite detailed, they are often rambling and inconclusive, or even too brief to be of value.  Remember that the researcher does not have the opportunity to probe and clear answers, as with telephone data collection.  To address this problem, the open-ends are thoroughly tested beforehand and are often rewritten to assure more precise answers.
  • Sample must be carefully developed. In healthcare, respondents are hard to reach. Typically, the larger and busier the hospital, the more difficult it becomes to obtain access to the key decision-makers. This also applies to physicians and other healthcare providers. Therefore, the sampling frame must be constructed carefully and strict screening qualifiers must be developed that assure a quality sample.
  • Examine the results after the first few hours and daily thereafter. Look for unusual trends in the data and nonsensical/inappropriate responses.  Also, be careful not to overwhelm the respondents with nice to know, but non-essential questions.  Respondent fatigue is a growing concern with online surveys. 

 Online Programming

After the study has been designed, sample developed, and questionnaire finalized, IntelliQ Health's technical team custom programs the online questionnaire.  Within the surveys we are able to incorporate complex logic and images (such as advertisements, logos, pictures of products and procedures).  IntelliQ Health also has the ability to conduct online surveys in multiple languages.

Online Focus Groups
Conducting qualitative research online is becoming more acceptable as a way of collecting insights and information.  This method can be used for evaluating brand positioning, communications/advertising, pricing of products/services, websites, new product concepts, packaging, and employee/customer/patient satisfaction.

IntelliQ Health's online focus groups are a cost-effective alternative to conventional "face-to-face" focus groups since travel and facility costs are eliminated.  Furthermore, online focus groups allow participants to view text, graphics, sounds/jingles, video or multimedia in order to provide reactions and feedback.  Unlike traditional focus groups, there are no geographical restrictions, difficult drive times, overused respondents, or people who know each other.  Additionally, complete transcripts of the online focus groups session are available immediately following each group, which is extremely valuable to discern key insights and in pulling out key verbatim comments.

The two most utilized online methodologies are (1) real-time, virtual focus groups where six to eight respondents participate simultaneously, and (2) asynchronous online bulletin boards in which 10 - 30 respondents comment over several days.

Real-time online groups tend to last 45 - 90 minutes.  Ideally, 30 - 60 questions are written in advance for input during the discussion.  It is important to allow enough unstructured time to ask spontaneous questions or probes as the discussion unfolds.  Many moderators make the mistake of having a too highly scripted group discussion.

Bulletin board groups can last 3 to 5 days or more depending on the amount of information desired.  In general, a 3 day bulletin board works best.  At the beginning of each day, a predetermined list of questions is posted for respondents to answer.  During each day new questions or probes can be asked (e.g., requesting a clarification or an elaboration).