Building a Global Patient Convenience Program: A Flexible Approach to Eliminating Financial Barriers

August 28 2023  

The execution of a clinical trial hinges on participants’ willingness to enroll, comply, and stay engaged. Participant convenience and accessibility play a pivotal role in trial success. In fact, 80% of delays in clinical trial timelines are attributed to poor recruitment and retention. 

As of May 2023, there were over 450,000 studies registered around the world. Conducting trials that span regions and countries is critical to enrolling diverse populations and ensuring safety and efficacy of drugs and treatments brought to market, however, this can present challenges in properly supporting participants.

One of the greatest barriers to participating in a clinical trial is the financial impact – often preventing enrollment or completion of a study. Some of the specific financial challenges participants face include: out-of-pocket expenses, delayed reimbursement, undesirable payment method and lack of transparency and informedness. 

Innovative Technology: Meeting Participants Where They Are

Recent research conducted by Greenphire revealed that 90% of sites and 95% of sponsors and CROs believe removing financial and logistical barriers from participants in clinical trials can improve retention.

Sponsors and CROs are prioritizing the participant experience, which has been a driver for increased adoption of participant convenience solutions and services within the clinical trial industry. But what does a truly global participant convenience solution look like?

  • Eliminating out-of-pocket expenses: Offering services such as global travel arrangements not only provides peace of mind and removes the logistical burden for participants but also eliminates the need for participants to pay out of pocket, ensuring there is no financial impact.
  • Real-time reimbursement: For instances where participants do have to pay out of pocket (gas, parking, tolls, etc.), reimbursing participants in real-time is essential to instilling trust and ultimately keeping participants enrolled – whereas payment methods such as checks can take days to weeks to arrive, having a negative impact on their ability to stay in the trial.
  • Regionally viable & preferred payment methods: Payment preferences and availability differ from person to person, especially region to region. A truly global solution should offer a host of reimbursement options for participants – debit card, bank transfer, digital options – and allow them to be paid in local currency. For example, in certain regions like Europe, the preference is to have funds transferred directly into their bank account, whereas other regions such as Africa may prefer to receive payments digitally, including via M-Pesa in Kenya. We often see that debit cards are still preferred in many regions because they are secure, do not require having a bank account, and offer flexible use and ability to access funds.
  • Access & transparency into funds and account information: Aside from payment methods and timeliness, keeping participants informed is critical to providing a positive experience. An ideal participant-focused solution will provide a centralized platform with access to information such as financial details for study payments received and study-related insights and resources, and the ability to complete certain actions such as upload receipts for reimbursement and complete surveys issued by study coordinators.

Participants should feel supported based on their unique needs and preferences. The key to delivering a truly global patient convenience program is offering flexibility!

Advantages for Sites, Sponsors & CROs

A comprehensive global participant-focused technology will provide benefits that reach beyond the participants. Sponsors, CROs and site will also experience advantages, including:

  • Gained efficiency/time savings: With a user-friendly platform, research sites can enjoy a simple and centralized workflow to complete key administrative tasks that typically take up a significant amount of time, whether reimbursing a participant, initiating a travel request or registering a new participant. Sites will have more time to focus on participant care and engagement, likely resulting in better relationships amongst sites, sponsors and CROs.
  • Improved participant recruitment & retention: Resources and tools that simplify the experience make trials more accessible. Happier and more engaged participants are more likely to remain enrolled in study, reducing dropout rates and improving overall data quality.
  • Increased financial transparency & control: With a single partner supporting global studies across the enterprise, all activities and spend is executed and tracked via a centralized platform, giving sponsors and CROs complete visibility and control.
  • Cost savings: By better supporting recruitment efforts and reducing dropouts, sponsors can execute accelerated and more cost-effective trials.

Participant convenience programs are an integral aspect of trial success. Addressing the challenges faced by participants with innovative and scalable solutions not only improves the participant experience but also empowers sites, sponsors and CROs to conduct trials more efficiently and effectively.

Greenphire is driving positive change in clinical research. Learn more about how our solutions can help strengthen and globalize your participant convenience program:

Danny Offenbacher
Product Lead, Payments and Tax Services

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