Building the business case for site payment automation with five simple questions
The impact that a centralized payment solution can have on the performance of a clinical trial is tremendous. By eliminating error prone manual efforts and streamlining workflow processes, sites can focus on the execution of the trial and become more valuable to the sponsors and CROs they have partnered with to conduct the study.
According to Greenphire’s recent study of clinical research sites, an overwhelming majority of sites (more than 85%!) would prefer to work with a sponsor or CRO that provided an automated solution designed to reconcile, request and process payments to their site.
The value of automating the payment and reconciliation processes brings a significant advantage to CROs and sponsors because of the increased satisfaction and performance from sites. The host of benefits to the CRO and sponsor certainly are compelling, however if the obvious advantages gained from improving site performance aren’t clear – building the business case for such a solution can be a struggle.
However, the reality is that the real time-consuming burden comes with tracking down, processing and requesting payments from a sponsor or CRO.
Here are five questions to ask when building the business case for investing in a site payment solution:
How is your relationship with your site? Could it be improved?
Site satisfaction is a top priority for many CROs and sponsors. Establishing a close, trusting and collaborative relationship with a site is key to ensuring the trial runs smoothly, on schedule and within budget. Late, inaccurate payments can have a tremendous impact on a site’s interest in the trial, limit their ability to deliver the data needed for the study, and also have a detrimental effect on their willingness to support future trials.
Does your site have a resource dedicated just to reconciling, processing and requesting payments?
Many times, payment reconciliation becomes the responsibility of someone who’s job is something else entirely. In our experience, we see that about half of the sites that use our solution do not have a dedicated resource for payment reconciliation and processing. And, even if they do have a resource for this, it can take up to half of the time of their week to complete this process – a burden for all involved, especially when they could be focusing their time on their primary responsibilities.
What visibility do you and your sites have into cash flow and overall financial management?
Centralized payment technology that is accessible by sponsors, CROs and sites provides a consistent line of sight across payers and payees to ensure that all parties involved understand what is owed, what is in process and what has been paid. Additionally, access to centralized data brings a longer term business advantage of seeing trends and valuable insights into study performance and continually evolving study costs while also providing insight into future rate benchmarking opportunities and overall budget management.
What reports do you need today and what reporting will be demanded in the future?
There is a growing interest in the pharmaceutical industry to increase reporting and compliance across all business practices. Today, there are standard requirements and the technology has been put in place (in most cases) to comply with these standards, but the data is not always clean or reliable. Additionally, with the increased focus on transparency and accountability throughout the industry, what is yet to come? Ensuring you are collecting the data and information today for the reports you need tomorrow is imperative for operational efficiencies and reducing risks.
Is setting up payment criteria for each trial and site supporting that trial a burden?
When it comes to paying sites, there are a number of criteria that needs to be established to authorize payments. By automating this process with pre-configured payment criteria, the sponsor or CRO can pay the site faster, resulting in a better relationship for the trial. This criterion can also be extended to empower the sites to request and receive payments for invoices outside of the contractual agreements, further strengthening the partnership, collaboration and trust for the sites with their sponsors and CROs.
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