Seizing a golden educational opportunity: The value of published market research

Here, Adelphi explores how appropriate publication of valuable and robust market research insights can provide a golden opportunity to create more compelling education for healthcare professionals, and ultimately improve patient care.

Market research is fundamental to the pharmaceutical industry. It has long been seen as an important tool for educating company employees and informing internal strategy. However, this traditional focus misses a golden opportunity to share with a wider audience the insight gained into clinical perceptions and practices.

“As real-world evidence becomes increasingly important for healthcare decisions, published market research can help to provide a relevant, up-to-date and robust addition to the evidence base”


In an arena demanding evidence-based medical practice, data derived from the ‘real world’ is becoming increasingly important for healthcare decision making. Market research, by its very nature, can quickly illuminate real-world treatment dynamics and patient experience in a way that clinical trials cannot. This makes market-research-derived data highly relevant to the clinical experience of healthcare professionals (HCPs). We believe this relevance to front-line HCPs, combined with the insight it generates, means that well-designed and well-performed market research can provide valuable real-world evidence, adding compelling practice-based observation to evidence gathered from clinical trials. Critically, incorporation of such market research insight into innovative education designed for HCPs can support better treatment decisions, thereby improving patient outcomes.

Disseminating market research insight to HCPs

Now that the digital revolution is upon us and material can be created rapidly and distributed in an instant, the ability to instantly recognise the credibility of information is key. And nothing confirms the credibility of information better to HCPs than publication in peer-reviewed form, typically at a specialist congress and/or in a peer-reviewed journal.

Publication at most congresses requires the submission of an abstract, which will undergo a rigorous peer-review process before it is accepted for presentation in oral or poster form. With careful planning and execution, both oral and poster presentations can be extremely effective and impactful communication tools, providing intuitive data summaries and concise narrative focused on one or two clear educational concepts. Congress presentation ensures data visibility to your intended audience and can drive significant exchange by word of mouth.

Publication in peer-reviewed journals is also an ideal way to validate and communicate appropriate market research data. Journals are an extremely credible source of robust scientific evidence, and findings may be widely cited for some years after the initial publication.

“Peer-reviewed publication of market research data reinforces its credibility and provides the opportunity to reach a wide and diverse audience”


Complementing traditional peer-review publications, many journals now provide digital channels, offering opportunities to engage with and educate HCPs in new and interesting ways. For example, dynamic embedded multimedia, animations and links to other associated resources help the reader to absorb key points. A number of journals have also moved into the social media space, for example, with Twitter and Facebook presence. Here, highlights of, and links to, key articles are posted, thus expanding the audience base further to HCPs who would not normally read traditional publications, and to patients, patient groups and other interested parties.

Published market research insights can also be integrated into compelling educational programmes for HCPs in areas of unmet clinical need. For example, market research we have conducted in patients receiving treatment for early breast cancer was presented in poster form at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) congress1 and also published in the journal Breast2, with a brief summary of the article appearing in the European Nursing Society (EONS) newsletter distributed to 25,000 nurses. Through these channels the key conclusions—that there was a need to improve patient understanding of adjuvant endocrine therapy, and that facilitating or enhancing communication between patients and their HCPs was key to achieving this—reached a wide and diverse audience.

“Medical education using market research evidence can contribute to behaviour changes that improve patient outcomes”


The benefits of a compelling educational programme

Real-world experience captured from market research, and communicated as part of a multi-channel medical educational programme focused on relevant HCP audiences, can enhance understanding of relevant issues and—where appropriate—can contribute to changes in clinical behaviour that improve patient outcomes. While precisely what can be accomplished by the integration of market research into HCP education will depend on the therapy area and questions being asked, examples include (figure 1):

• enabling HCPs to develop a more in-depth understanding of a rare medical condition

• providing information to improve diagnosis of complex diseases

• enhancing awareness of the social/emotional burden of a particular disease

• improving understanding of the impact that treatment may have on patients’ quality of life (QoL)

• highlighting problems with treatment adherence

• emphasizing the benefits of improved patient education

• promoting best practice amongst HCPs.

Figure 1: Published pharmaceutical industry sponsored market research can support HCPs in multiple ways to drive improved patient outcomes.


Market research provides a wealth of often untapped educational potential. When planning an educational programme, consider how well-designed, published market research might provide an up-to-date and robust addition to your evidence base. And vice versa, when commissioning a piece of market research, consider what impact the findings might have if published and used as part of your educational programme. Ideally, ask key expert HCPs in the field to input into the study at an early stage. By enlisting HCPs to help with designing the study and communicating the results, you will ensure that the data it produces are meaningful and useful to HCPs, are credible, and are presented in a way that is relevant to HCPs.

“Enlisting key experts will ensure that the data are useful, credible and presented in a way that is relevant to HCPs”


Incorporating published market research data into your HCP education programme will provide HCPs with credible evidence that is relevant to their real-world practice, thereby enhancing treatment decisions and supporting improved patient outcomes.


1. Wengström Y, et al. Ann Oncol 2006;17(Suppl. 9):ix99

2. Wengström Y, et al. Breast 2007;16:462–468



About the authors

Andrew Ward is a Director at Adelphi Research and believes in the power of information. Over the last 11 years of working in the pharmaceutical industry Andrew has seen the power in delivering clear, impactful communication of key insights. Furthermore, Andrew believes that market research can provide a rich, diverse resource of real-world data, helping to enhance and develop educational programs.

Rhiannon Meaden (BSc, PhD) is a Director at Adelphi Communications. In harmony with Adelphi’s core values, she has a passion for fostering valued relationships in pharma and healthcare. Rhiannon’s balance of scientific and industry expertise gives her the perfect foundation to develop inspiring solutions to the complex educational challenges our industry faces, empowering and enabling healthcare professionals to make the best treatment decisions for their patients.

For further information on how market research can be published and used as part of your educational strategy, contact Andrew Ward (+44 [0] 1625 577451 or or Rhiannon Meaden (+44 [0] 1625 578674 or


The authors would like to thank Ben Hoskin, Elspeth Stewart and Laura Wilson for their assistance in the development of this article.

How else can pharma market research be used for medical education?