Market research has evolved dramatically over the decades. It started with Paper and Pencil interviewing (PAPI), a quantitative data collection method. With computer becoming prevalent, methods such as Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) and Computer Assisted telephone Interviewing (CATI) took over.
This was followed by online market research methods like Web-Assisted Personal Interviewing (WAPI) and Computer Assisted Web Interviewing (CAWI) and more recently by mobile market research techniques like Smartphone Assisted Personal Interviewing (SAPI) and Tablet Assisted Personal Interviewing (TAPI) as well as multi and mixed-mode surveys.
Unfortunately, while market research methods have improved constantly, no new research method suited to the very specific requirements of healthcare market research has emerged.
Virtual reality technology in medical and healthcare fields
Recent technological advances and the innovative approach of some of the worlds’ biggest tech companies have made VR and AR technology practical and cheaper, and as a result, significantly more accessible than ever before. While current applications are mostly limited to entertainment and media consumption purposes, they are in turn contributing towards bringing virtual technologies to the mainstream.
Already, VR has brought a range of new services into the healthcare industry. The immersive experience provided by VR is being used in a variety of healthcare and medical applications ranging from pain and stress management therapy to medical training and surgical preparations. VR services in the medical / healthcare segment are forecasted to generate US $285 million by 2022.
Medical / therapeutic VR is an area which provides fascinating opportunities to clinical researchers and medical practitioners. Imagine the possibility of a doctor assisting in the operating room without physically being present. Treatment for schizophrenia or paranoia is another area where VR treatment has shown to be promising.
Lastly, deep implementation of VR in medical education and training can potentially result in a new generation of medical professionals with rich virtual experience in their respective fields, such as in surgery, even before they qualify, helping them to be better in real life.
Can VR and AR-based market research hold the candle to existing healthcare market research methods?
Implementation of VR and AR technology in the healthcare market research field could push research forward by leaps and bounds. Think real-time access of patient and doctor interactions to researchers or a first-person view of a new medical tool through novel usage of VR, AR and live-streaming capabilities.
This can be further complemented with the use of health monitoring wearables, which can enhance data collection methods when utilized along with supplementary assets such as physician notes, web searches, online healthcare purchases, social media, etc.
Engaging in Alternative Technologies to Enhance Healthcare Market Research
Machine learning is an emerging technology at the forefront of several innovations. And the way machine learning powered predictive analytics works makes it well-suited for healthcare market research and MR in general. Borderless Access has already set foot into the realm of predictive analytics to derive rich insights for its customers and aims to further extend the use of the technology to other areas of its digital research services, such as HealthSight.
Speaking about HealthSight, Borderless Access ones again leads the way in the front of technology implementation in the form of a programmatic project management suite specific to healthcare MR. Designed from scratch as an advanced, future-ready Windows application, HealthSight enables researchers to commission research projects as well as manage every minute aspect of a project, all with an intuitive touch-based application.
The future looks even more exciting as Borderless Access implements even more technological innovations to upgrade its healthcare research services. This includes the use of heat map data to intelligently push out surveys to respondents to maximize. ROI. Also in the offing are virtual reality surveys to conduct product testing and concept testing among physicians and patients. The aim of these surveys would be to develop the next generation of market research techniques, aimed at the healthcare segment, which can obtain deeper insights, reduce errors, increase ROI and enable quick and clear decision making for our clients.
The next phase of change in healthcare MR and market research in general is almost upon us. If we don’t recognize the potential of these changes, we are at risk of missing the boat.
The winners that will drive the research field forward will be organizations that are willing to evolve and adapt to the new environment, embrace alternative techniques and reorganize their operations to take advantage – rather than be a victim – of the new dynamics that are driving healthcare.