Acumen’s Healthcare fieldwork team were approached by an independent research agency, to find participants for a study they were conducting on behalf of a pharmaceutical company. The research was intended to explore the pathway to recovery for people with Hepatitis C, who also inject drugs, and what potential barriers to treatment they might experience.
To understand these issues, the research agency wanted to meet with an expert panel, in a single session in which they brought together key stakeholders within the field and experts in the treatment of Hepatitis C. The intended panel was to consist of Hepatologists, GP’s and Prison GP’s, Specialist Hepatology Nurses, BBV Nurses, Drug and Charity Workers and Community Pharmacists.
The main challenge with this project was not only finding participants who matched the specific, and sometimes niche, profiles that the client had specified but also ensuring they were based in the geographical area that the research was taking place in at the time they were needed.
To begin, the healthcare fieldwork team assessed the feasibility of the project by analysing the overall numbers of people who matched the criteria on their in-house database. From there they were able to estimate the total number of contacts they would need to meet the clients criteria. After making initial contact with potential participants on the database the team began researching organisations and companies who might interact with the participants needed. The team were then able to identify new potential participants and offer finder’s fees for those making contact on their behalf.
The team also used third party databases and community forums to advertise the research which enabled them to identify further participants who might not have necessarily taken part in this kind of research forum before.
As with all research on sensitive subjects it is essential that the fieldwork team are transparent on the purpose and details of the project so that all participants are engaging with the project with full and free consent. As many of the participants on this project were already professionally and personally engaged with the subject matter the team at Acumen were able to recruit all of the stakeholders the client wanted to meet with.