What is Sermo?

Sermo is the world leader in turning physician experience, expertise, and observations into actionable insights for the global healthcare community. In 2020 alone, Sermo collected over 22M answers from HCPs across 600,000+ completed surveys.

Who leverages Sermo’s platform?

Sermo works with pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies, government bodies, medical associations, media agencies, market research organizations, management consulting firms, press, and other firms interested in physician treatment patterns and insights. Customers include the American Medical Association (AMA), 17 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies such as Novartis, Pfizer, Allergan, Bristol Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline to name a few, as well as Mckinsey & Company, ZS Associates, and Goldman Sachs. We have also partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, WomenHeart, professors from Harvard Medical School, Doctors Without Borders, and other medical associations on various initiatives.

For Media: How Sermo studies compare to the scientific standard of polling:

Scientific Standard RealTime and Custom Surveys
Source of respondents As close to a complete universe list as practical and without any source of known bias Respondents come from the Sermo membership. The size of the Sermo membership relative to the universe of physicians provides considerably higher coverage than typical online consumer research panels. In addition, and unlike consumer panels where demographic biases are common, the profile of Sermo US physician members closely mirrors that of the all US physicians. Sermo membership is validated, free, and voluntary.
Selection of respondents Random sample Random sample
Invitation process Designed to maximize participation and minimize non-response bias Multiple email invitation sufficient to deliver high participation rates
Respondent Incentives Transparency Covid-19 Barometer study waves were completely un-incentivized.
Other Real Time studies offer modest cash incentive in line with industry practice and commensurate with survey length.
Poll process Prevent multiple responses from single person and other sources of potential bias/fraud Members click unique link in email and can take survey only once.
No survey results shared with participants after the survey.
Survey Design No questions or surveys designed to elicit a predetermined response Surveys designed to gauge the honest views of Sermo members and the wider universe of healthcare professionals.
Full survey questions are always available upon request.
Transparency Required We publish sample size and process with every poll published
Respondent anonymity Required Always guaranteed by Sermo
Surveys used for lead generation Not permitted Never allowed on Sermo
Push Polls Not permitted Never allowed on Sermo

Methodology of the Sermo Real Time Covid-19 Barometer Study

What is the Sermo Real Time Covid-19 Barometer Study?

The Barometer is an observational study of the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak as reported via physicians’ first-hand observations. All doctors are licensed verified physicians in 30 countries. The Barometer reports new medical and market research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.

What is an observational study?

They are called observational studies because the investigator relies on the physician’s self-reported or observational reports of treating patients without manipulation or intervention. This is in contrast to randomized controlled clinical trials, which are designed experiments where investigators intervene and look at the effects of the intervention on an outcome.

While randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials are still the ‘gold standard’ for assessing the safety and effectiveness of therapy, observational studies are a fundamental part of epidemiological research.

Sample & Countries:

Physicians were not incentivized to participate in Sermo’s COVID-19 Barometer Survey. The sample represents physicians registered with Sermo, a secure digital (online) platform designed for anonymous survey research and physician networking. The platform is exclusive to verified and licensed physicians. The study was conducted with a random unbiased sample of doctors from 30 countries. Treatment questions were only asked and reported on with doctors who have personally treated COVID patients.

Given the strategic importance of this topic, physicians across all specialties were sampled. The 30 countries included in the sample are United States, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, Italy, UK, France, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Turkey, Poland, Russia, Finland, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Australia, China, India and Hong Kong.

Results are reported for individual countries with a minimum sample size of 250. Such a sample size provides for point estimates with a +/- 6% precision at a 94% confidence level. In situations where the sample size for a country is below 250, countries are aggregated to provide a meaningful regional view. No weighting factor was applied to any individual sampling unit either in the selection of physicians who received an invite to participate or in any analysis conducted post-data collection.

Survey Instrument

The survey instrument was created via a collaboration between Sermo management, healthcare professionals, healthcare industry veterans, and market research professionals. Prior to a full launch, the Wave I survey instrument was pre-tested online among a small sample of physicians on March 23, 2020. Based on the results of this pre-test adjustments were made to questionnaire wording and survey flow. The total survey length was approximately 22 minutes.

Data Analysis

Each respondent’s personal identifiable information has been decoupled from the sample survey, and subsequent analysis, is completely anonymous. The data was processed and analyzed to create descriptive statistics summarizing physicians’ attitudes about the various survey topics. All results that are cited as statistically significant were evaluated at a 95% confidence interval. In some instances – particularly were 4-point Likert scales were used to evaluate levels of concern or stress – scales were collapsed into high (“very concerned” and ”somewhat concerned”) versus low (”slightly concerned” and “not at all concerned”) categories for comparison.

Additional survey details available upon request; please contact us at business@sermo.com