Clinical trial sites lack accounting resources

Fast reimbursement of trial subjects—a boost to trial participation—is compromised

Clinical trials churn out furious amounts of data; that’s their purpose, after all. But administering the trial, particularly for stipends and reimbursements for patients, are a non-value-added part of the process. At the same time, trial administrators and sponsors are under the gun to be more accountable for trial expenses.

Yet many sites have minimal accounting systems in place. Only 35% of sites use solutions like a clinical trial management system (CTMS); most of the rest depend on paper documentation, spreadsheets and the like. Sites outside the US are twice as likely to use a paper system.
In a study conducted with the Society for Clinical Research Sites (SCRS) and Greenphire, a vendor of automated payment systems, 760 sites globally (75% in the US) were polled during the December 2016-February 2017 period. Results confirm difficulties in management patient reimbursements:

• 63% of sites prefer electronic payments
• More than 75% of sites reported that reimbursement timelines have an impact on their ability to pay stipends and reimbursements to patients
• 44% of sites employ personnel involved in accounting who also have other study-related duties
• 74% of sites report that personnel spend more than 15 minutes per patient visit on accounting activities.

Greenphire’s solution is a cloud-based payment-processing system, which incorporates payment by with pre-paid credit cards, branded as ClinCard. It is currently in use by numerous trial administrators.

A further complication of the situation is that timely payments to investigator sites is an ongoing concern for trial administrators. Being able to issue prompt payments to trial subjects, then documenting the transaction, enables those administrators to generate invoices more quickly, speeding up the overall reimbursement process.

“Our survey results show that sites around the world are eager to adopt new technologies which improve financial processes, reduce administrative burden and make more timely payments possible, said Jim Murphy, CEO, in a statement. “Eliminating manual burdens through technology can vastly improve the patient experience and simultaneously improve the financial health of the investigative site.”