The things you need to know about the digital transformation of primary research

April 13, 2020

In the rapidly evolving market access landscape, it’s important to quickly identify current payer perspectives to determine future trends. High-quality, rapid primary research can be key to fast-forwarding your strategy. 

In the second of her five-part series on digital transformation in market access, Dr. Patti Peeples, CEO of, sits down with Sophie Clayton-Welch, Head of the International Experts Group at PRMA Consulting, to discuss 3 ways that new technology is helping market access professionals gain cost-effective, real-time payer insight.

Dr. Peeples: In the current health and economic climate, what are the key watchpoints for market access professionals who are conducting primary research?

Sophie Clayton-Welch: I’ve partnered for over 10 years with clients that have assets at all stages of product development, from early portfolio investment decisions to late-stage market access planning and testing.

Market access landscapes are already dynamic, so with the new challenges that we’re facing it’s even more important to use well thought-out research methodologies that continue to deliver 3 things:

  1. Quality: engaging the best payer advisors for your research
  2. Speed: getting the right advice at the right time
  3. Compliance: ensuring your advisor engagement is in line with the latest guidelines

The current health and economic climate certainly presents challenges but it is also an opportunity for switched-on market access professionals to re-evaluate their current primary research processes.

I encourage everyone to ask themselves: is there a smarter, more effective way of gaining payer insight?

Dr. Peeples: So is there a better way for market access professionals to improve the quality of their primary research?

Sophie Clayton-Welch: I always recommend taking time to consider your advisor’s experience and, given the current climate, their availability.

A good consultancy should provide you with anonymous advisor biographies. You can then be confident that the advisors are appropriate for your specific project and will give you the quality insights that you need.

Experienced consultants with disease area background and market access experience in your field will also enhance the quality of your primary research. They should closely partner with you to develop the content and formulate targeted questions that will enhance the quality of your primary research.

Finally, you should consider the environments that advisor interactions take place in. We are seeing a greater number of primary research meetings take place online. These virtual interactions still need to be quality controlled and expertly moderated.

One of my favorite new methods of payer engagement is via our online forums. These can run from 3 days to 3 years and are a fantastic opportunity to actively engage with advisors – challenging them with probing questions and encouraging lively interaction with each other.

The free download below gives you more recommendations.

Dr. Peeples: You mentioned that speed is becoming increasingly important for primary research. How is digital technology helping market access professionals gain real-time insight?

Sophie Clayton-Welch: Our common vision is to enable faster patient access to therapies that improve health outcomes. With digital technology, research that would have once taken 6 months can now be conducted in 6 weeks using on-demand solutions such as:

  • Virtual advisory boards: an agile, cost-effective approach to primary research.
  • Online forums: a qualitative approach that allows for deeper discussion of the questions in hand.
  • Online surveys: fit in with your timeframes and advisors’ busy schedules to ensure you receive the most up-to-date and appropriate insights.

These 3 engagement portals are available within our own digital solution, the PRMA Access Accelerator®.

This can be employed at any stage in your assets development from rapidly informing investment decisions right through to refining value messages. If you’d like a live demonstration of the application, please email me at and mention

Dr. Peeples:  How is digital technology helping market access professionals conduct their primary research more compliantly?

Sophie Clayton-Welch: Online systems must manage significant amounts of proprietorial data, so, it’s essential that questions about compliance and security are addressed.  

You really shouldn’t work with a consultancy that can’t commit to the security of your information.

At PRMA Consulting, we protect our clients’ reputations with our rigorous compliance and quality control. This includes GDPR-compliant, CSA-Star and ISO27001-certified systems.

Not only do we commit to continuously improving our cloud security and infrastructure, we also pride ourselves on delivering reliability and quality in every client engagement.

You can take confidence from PRMA Consulting’s seamless organization of primary research advisor interactions; we oversee selection and recruitment, relationship management, double-blinded interactions, and compliant remuneration.

To download a free copy of the article “Payer insight: 5 ways to get the most from your advisor interactions” click the button below.

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