COVID-19 has dominated headlines and filtered into nearly every aspect of our daily lives, with most of us on lockdown to protect ourselves and those at risk, and to ease pressure on our health services. Obviously, sectors such as event planning and hospitality have been hit hard due to the sharp decline in demand and social distancing measures, and nearly a quarter of the UK’s workforce have been furloughed. However, there are some sectors which remain just as relevant as before, if not more so during the current situation, such as medical market research.
It seems sensible to assume that the majority of medical market research resources should be focused on Coronavirus-related research in a bid to help governments and medical professionals fight against the disease and prioritise the issues which are deemed the most urgent. A recent international report from M3 Global Research showed that a lack of PPE is the highest priority for healthcare professional respondents (at 66%), followed by an increase in testing for the public (57%) and healthcare professionals themselves (49%), with the introduction of antibody testing following closely behind at 48%. Market research around this topic can also help provide information on the local confidence in individual government responses and their future plans to combat the spread of COVID-19 in their countries, and how this develops from week to week as circumstances change and adapt to new statistics.
Medical market research can also guide the development of future policies post-pandemic. For example, it can gather professional opinion on how best to host international conferences going forward (in-person or virtually), whether medical representatives could switch to more online communications, and similarly how comfortable GPs would be to hold patient consultations via webcam or an app. In an increasingly digital age, market research holds the key to understanding how this could be reflected in the world of healthcare.
Additionally, if and when a vaccine is developed, it will need to be thoroughly trialled and there will be a call for market research to be done into the professional and consumer perception of this treatment, the side effects, pricing etc., in order for it to be brought to market in the safest way possible.
Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic should not draw attention away from research into other illnesses and diseases. Cancers, infections, viruses and many other conditions continue to be diagnosed, meaning scientists and pharmaceutical companies must continue working hard to develop new and more efficient drugs and treatment options for patients. With this in mind, market research must also carry on as before, to ensure we are moving forward in all areas and adapting to medical advancements and discoveries.
While some professions are temporarily on hold, it is clear that medical market research plays a part in both the fight against COVID-19 and in understanding how we all move forward. After all, nothing is more important than our health.