Scammed By a Survey

Neil Baum, MD

Neil Baum, MD, is Clinical Associate Professor of Urology, Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, LA, and author of Marketing Your Clinical Practice: Ethically, Effectively, and Economically, Jones Bartlett Publishers. He is also author of Social Media For The Healthcare Profession, Greenbranch Publishing, 2011. He blogs at

If you are like me, you have received several requests to participate in a “brief 10 minute” survey with a promise of financial compensation. The usual scenario is that you have to complete an online questionnaire to see if you “qualify” for the phone survey. Then you receive a call and spend far more time on the phone than the promised allotted time that you were committed to the survey. Once you get started, there’s usually no turning back, as you are already 10 minutes into the interview.

Now if that isn’t aggravating enough, how about not getting compensated for the time spent? Unfortunately, failure to get paid happens frequently.
Advice: Get the name of the company, the name of the interviewer, and their phone numbers before agreeing to the interview. If you really want to be sure it is not an organization picking your brain for free data, ask for references.
Bottom Line: Most interactions between physicians and companies doing surveys are honorable. However, there are a few companies that ruin it for the majority. Take this advice before you provide your information and your data.