Sermo launches platform for online physician focus groups

CAMBRIDGE, MA: Sermo, the online physician community, launched a program that provides pharmaceutical companies, as well as advertising, PR, and market research firms, access to its 110,000 physicians for Web-based focus groups.

CAMBRIDGE, MA: Sermo, the online physician community, launched a program that provides healthcare companies, as well as advertising, PR, and market research firms, access to its 110,000 physicians for Web-based focus groups.

The primary audience is agencies and corporate communications and brand teams at pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies that can use the platform to gather physician feedback about messaging, strategies, and campaign materials and images, said Greg Shenk, director of marketing for Sermo.

Physicians who participate in a session can be selected based on interests, ranking, and clinical expertise and spend, an average, 90 minutes of their time.

Sermo Panels launched September 29 in two forms – Sermo Panels for pharmaceutical companies, which costs $16,0000, and Sermo Panels Express for agencies, which costs $5,250. Both formats also charge what Sermo calls the MD honoraria, which runs about $150 to $300 for each physician that participates.

The Express platform allows agencies to moderate the online discussions themselves, which can take place over a few days, whereas the Sermo Panels format brings in a Sermo staffer to moderate the discussion.

“You have a lot more time to react to their comments, provide additional insights, and help them through a discussion,” said Shenk, who also noted that agencies use the service when pitching new business.

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