Healthcare – Blood Born Viruses

The Study

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.

Our Approach

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.

Healthcare – Respiratory Study

The Study

Acumen were asked by a research agency to help with a project they were conducting on behalf of a Biopharmaceutical company. The company were seeking feedback on a new app that had developed to provide support and information to people with a range of respiratory problems.

The app, which had been designed for smartphone users, had a number of features including the ability to capture and monitor data on how patients are using their inhalers. In order to test this functionality, Acumen were asked to find participants who suffered with Asthma, and had been diagnosed over various periods of time, in addition to people living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD). All of the participants had to be using different types of inhalers in order to fully assess their user experience of the new app.

An additional element of the research involved recruiting Healthcare professionals from a variety of disciplines and specialisms. These included: Respiratory consultants; GP’s; and Nurses who specialised in respiratory ailments or were Practice Nurses working within a respiratory clinic.


Our Approach

Acumen’s Healthcare fieldwork market research team have an extensive in-house database with participants who’ve signed up to take part in market research studies. It contains healthcare professionals of all levels and specialisms in addition to information on people who have been diagnosed with a range of conditions. For a project like this, the database that the Healthcare team have built up, is an invaluable resource.

In addition to this, the team also used their presence on social media to target people who were likely to meet one or more of the quotas required for this study. Social media is an ideal resource for research that requires participants who are comfortable with smartphones and technology.

Utilising these two methods enabled the team to draw on a large pool of potential participants who were then carefully screened to ensure they all met the criteria specified by the client. The challenge on this project was in finding people who were local to the area the research was taking place in, but the combination of the team’s database and their presence online enabled them to find all the participants the client wanted to speak to.