The Cost of Site Reimbursement: 5 Factors That Cannot Be Ignored

August 25 2016  

The management of site payments is traditionally handled in-house, or outsourced to a CRO. Whatever the method, the process is both complicated and time consuming, presenting multiple opportunities for error and delay.  

By handling this process manually, there is a significant administrative burden placed on the responsible party. The extensive process that must be undertaken in order to accrue, invoice, reconcile and distribute is lengthy, error prone and ultimately, costly.  Concurrently, there is little traceability or data captured around payment activity.

Measuring the costs associated with this manual effort can be difficult. When it comes to understanding how costly executing site payments manually can be, here are 5 factors that cannot be ignored:

  • Site satisfaction and performance

Today’s research sites struggle with sustainability and are dissatisfied with current payment processes – even citing these processes have a negative impact on their site operations and performance. Manual payments can delay reimbursements to sites, cause inaccuracies when the payments arrive and also do not provide any visibility into when the payments will arrive. The cost of underperforming sites can have a long-term detrimental effect on the clinical trial research, including the patient experience in the trial and the ability to capture the data needed for the study.

  • Rework

Manual efforts are error prone. Manually capturing, reconciling and executing payments based on invoices that are manually submitted for payment can present a host of opportunities for error. As a result, there is often a great deal of rework and corrections needed to be made to provide accurate payments to a site. Getting the payment right the first time, every time, without delay can streamline the cost of site payment and save a great deal of time and resources.

  • Visibility and transparency

Executing site reimbursement manually does not provide a paper trail of the financial transactions. Without this record, there is a great deal of administrative work that can build up, associated with tracking the status of a payment, knowing when a payment will arrive and knowing how much a site has been paid. Manually tracking this information is not only time consuming, but also error prone and cannot be as comprehensive or accurate as it could be through a centralized, automated platform.

  • Workflow efficiency

Removing the administrative burdens of executing site payments manually can create a host of workflow efficiencies that can save time, resources and improve the clinical trial performance. By setting up automatic triggers for payment approvals and execution, the payee – regardless if it is a CRO or sponsor, will gain a host of advantages related to more streamlined payment processes. Additionally, with a centralized payment mechanism that allows sites to easily submit invoices and requests for pass-through costs, the approval and payments for costs outside what has been contracted can also be streamlined, further eliminating additional administrative and manual work for the payee.

  • Financial intelligence

Manual payment processes do not provide a fraction of the financial intelligence data that can be gained from a centralized platform that has aggregated each and every one of the transactions. Without financial data, there is limited financial intelligence gained, eliminating any opportunity to help project and forecast costs, plan and analyze site performance.

By automating site payments with a centralized platform, a sponsor or CRO is able to seamlessly execute payments based on pre-determined criteria: when to pay, how much, who to pay and how much has been paid to whom. The impact of this automation can dramatically improve the site partnership and provide a host of advantages to the study – from cost and resource savings to a better trial experience for all involved.


Kyle Cunningham
Chief Product Officer

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