Editor's note: Chris Lee is president of MedQuery, a Chicago research firm. Michael Schulte is vice president, client service at MedQuery.

Recruiting medical professionals and those with rare medical conditions is arguably some of the most challenging recruiting there is for market research. Physicians often have numerous subspecialties that are not always obvious. For example, neurology has several subspecialties including movement disorder specialists, MS specialists, migraine specialists and neuro-oncologists. Not every neurologist treats the same diseases. So when a client says they need to speak to neurologists, who do they really want? Will you know how to find the right person?

Within hospitals, there are hundreds of different titles of people with overlapping responsibilities, making it very challenging to determine the right respondent. If a client asks for the person who makes decisions about new products, it could be the medical director of the department, the administrative director of the department, the CFO, COO, director of materials management, director of pharmacy, chairman of the pharmacy and therapeutics committee and on and on. Who does the client really want you to speak to and how do you know they are the right person for the market research project?

For patient research, it is even more challenging. Most diseases are rare within the general population and many are extremely rare. It is not uncommon to research diseases that are as rare as one person in 1,000 with the condition or even one in 10,000. At that level, it is very difficult to find a panel of any size. So now what? What recruiting methods can be used? Can the project even be recruited? Should you just pass on the job?

The point is, medical market research often requires a significantly higher level of understanding of the respondent than many other types of market research. The risk of overestimating screene...