Some exciting breakthroughs have emerged over the past few weeks with regards to COVID-19 vaccines. While many experts are cautiously optimistic about the early trial outcomes, some are voicing concern that the initial trials didn’t include enough people from different ethnic backgrounds. Because COVID-19 disproportionally affects people of color, many scientists are dismayed and raising the alarm about the lack of representation in the early trials.
The lack of representation in these early studies caught our attention because we’ve recruited for many medical and healthcare studies over the years and have learned without accurate representation of a population within these studies, the data will be skewed. Nationwide recruiting agencies aren’t responsible for initially identifying who should be included in a study–that is up to the person or team designing the study. However, once recruiters have a screening guide to work from, it’s important that they try and recruit a diverse sampling to fill a study.
It doesn’t matter what the subject of the market research study is, recruiting participants should always reflect the population at the heart of the study. This isn’t to say that there are times when a study is skewed toward a specific demographic or population. There are plenty of studies that have a very specific audience in mind. But even these studies will usually include a control group, so that the researcher can ‘compare and contrast’ between populations.
When it comes to medical and healthcare market research studies, diversity is key. The easiest and most effective way to improve medical market research outcomes is to make sure the study participants reflect the population at large. Now that many market research studies have shifted to virtual or online platforms, it is easier to ensure that recruits reflect the diverse make-up of the general population. When market research is carried out virtually, recruiters aren’t limited to recruiting from a geographic region, making it easier to recruit a more representative sample.
There are a number of nationwide recruiting agencies to choose from, but when it comes to filling a medical study, you’ll want to partner with a firm that has a proven track record with recruiting for medical or healthcare studies. There are additional burdens associated with medical and healthcare recruitment, especially around privacy and HIPPA regulations, so it’s important to team up with a recruiting firm that can demonstrate experience with more specialized recruitment.