Turning a nightmare project into a piece of cake with the heartbeat approach.

How MedSurvey used the heartbeat approach to strategically manage panel partners, cut recruitment time in half, and eliminate all the drama of a challenging project.

The Challenge

A life science market consultancy came to us with a problem. They run an annual global patient chart audit targeting rheumatologists, but the previous year’s effort was a disaster. It languished in field for more than double the time projected.

Faced with a 6-week delay, a lack of urgency, and an uncommunicative project manager, the consultancy’s CEO had to become directly involved. And to make matters worse, the costs of their sample provider’s challenges were passed directly on to them, resulting in a final price 40% higher than the original bid.


A Detailed Plan

We start every project with a comprehensive plan for selecting, onboarding, and managing panel partners. By leveraging historical data and our deep knowledge of each vendor’s strengths and challenges, we pre-selected five partners, estimated the number of completes for each partner, and developed an overlapping onboarding schedule for each country.

Expert Project Management

Coordinating numerous panels in multiple countries with different timelines isn’t easy. That’s why we have project managers like Rob Rich. He used his 30 years of industry experience to successfully execute this complex project. With proactive communication and careful preparation, he put each sample partner in the best position to deliver on their goals and kept the client fully informed throughout the project.

The Heartbeat Approach

We never want your project to flatline. In the traditional approach to partner management, sample companies continue to prioritize recruitment from their own panel well after respondent engagement has declined in an attempt to exhaust it.

By contrast, we begins by recruiting from the strongest panel, but by anticipating dips in respondent engagement, we bring on the new panel partner before the project can start to flatline. By following a regular cadence of onboarding additional partners at a predetermined schedule we see a healthy project rhythm that resembles a heartbeat, which is why we call it the Heartbeat Approach.

The Heartbeat Approach in the Wild

Survey completion data for three E.U. countries (Germany, Italy and France) were merged and plotted. Five partners were onboarded in three phases resulting in the expected heartbeat wave pattern.


By deploying the heartbeat approach, we fully recruited the project well within the research company’s timeframe and budget in both the U.S. and the E.U., with no surprise delays or costs. In the E.U., where the previous sample provider had spent 70 business days (10 weeks) in field, MedSurvey delivered in only 37 days (under 6 weeks).



“It’s like apples and oranges. MedSurvey went well beyond our expectations.”

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