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1. I Get Paid
I know you were thinking online medical market research is something I do out of the goodness of my heart, but deep down, I'm really a capitalist. And these studies take time and medical expertise, which is worth paying for if you ask me.
While I certainly am not earning a living off paid medical surveys, it’s not unusual for a healthcare professional with a few years (or more) experience to pull in a few thousand dollars a year.
The way to do this is to register for as many legit medical panels you can. I’ve never seen a legitimate healthcare panel ask for payment to join, so if you do, stay away. They are paying for your expertise, after all.
Also, complete your profile with each one for survey matching purposes. Then they’ll pretty much only send you paid survey opportunities for which you can qualify.
Of course, you won’t qualify for all (or even most) studies, but it’s a numbers game. Some may have newsletters or polls, but you can opt out of these when you register for the most part.
If you join six or seven panels, you might get invited to one or two surveys a week, so the strain on your inbox is minimal.
How Much Do Online Medical Surveys Pay?
On the low end, I typically won't engage with studies paying less than $1 per minute. Some are really short, which is why this is a by-the-minute deal.
To me, a well-paying study is one that pays $3 to $5 per minute.
There are some that pay $500 to $600 per hour, and they tend to last the full hour. These are usually phone or zoom assisted where they really get into the weeds with you. Phone studies are done by the same companies that facilitate the traditional, fully online paid medical market research.
The Medical Survey Panels I Have Joined
I’ve personally joined several medical market research panels, and have never regretted it. Even if I register and never get an invitation, there’s no harm done and at least I optimized my chances. Some, like MDForLives, will pay you $10 to $20 just for signing up.
A couple of these also offer ways to earn additional income other than surveys, which is pretty cool.
I am also registered with a few other panels, but have seen very few, if any, active surveys from them in the years I’ve been on their lists. To save you the time, I won’t mention them here. You can also check your eligibility for most medical survey panels here.
A Note on the Sunshine Act
In the vast majority of studies, you will not know the sponsor and the sponsoring company will have no way of knowing who you are. Because the market research company is acting as the intermediary, there is no reporting requirement for your participation.
However, in rare cases where this “blinding” is broken, some sponsors may be required to report the honorarium, or you can choose to forego payment. You’d pretty much have to tell them who you are in the study, which is not something I’ve ever seen asked, in order for this to happen. In my eight years of doing this, none of my honorarium has been reportable.
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2. The Studies Can Be Interesting
Even though I have capitalist characteristics, I'm not solely fixated on money at the expense of everything else. I have been known to cut my losses and stop a study for which I’ve already qualified if it becomes egregiously tedious or boring.
However, most of the online medical market research studies I find in my inbox are short (or short enough) for me to finish in 10 to 30 minutes. I really like InCrowd because their studies are typically under five minutes long and the pay is on the higher end.
The majority of the 10 to 30 minute studies I see are some of the most interesting. I can’t write about any of the details, but they are usually related to a potential new drug or device in a specific therapeutic area. I love getting an early-access peek inside the industry pipeline, which is what makes them so interesting to me.
3. It Helps My Profession
As a PA, I admit to occasionally feeling overlooked in the world of medicine. I'm sure we all feel this way at some point or another, regardless of profession or standing.
Medical market research is one way I feel I can make my voice heard in a meaningful way. I’m sure the average number of respondents varies, but it’s probably not so large that an individual’s opinion can’t contribute to the study outcomes.
Participating in paid medical market research can be another meaningful interaction between a clinician and industry that shapes the future direction of research and development.
4. Medical Market Research Benefits Healthcare & Patients
Just like the entry above, voicing your opinion to industry can be beneficial to patients, too. After all, you’ll be responsible for choosing whether or not to use the new product when (if) it comes out.
You may not know what product that study you answered a few years ago was investigating, but chances are good that there was clinician input somewhere in the development process.
This is one of the most important aspects of medical market research, and an enormous amount of it needs to get done before a product, device, or drug can be brought to market. So make your voice heard by joining a few online medical market research panels today. Registration is always free and takes no more than a few minutes.
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First Published: June 8, 2022
Guest author Robert Blumm, PA-C Emeritus, returns with a lession in clinical documentation and a harrowing experience of one PA.