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Site Payment Paradigm Shift: Using Electronic Data Capture To Replace Excel



At a recent meeting at the Pharmaceutical Contract Management Group about site payments, pharma sponsors and clinical research organizations (CROs) outlined the complicated and manual process of paying clinical trial sites.

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November 22, 2016 | by Marcus Thornton, Principal, Platform Adoption, Medidata

Medidata Solutions has done research that suggests up to 40 percent of a clinical trial budget is devoted to investigator payments; this is a significant piece of the financial consideration for a life science company. So can the process payment be improved?

At a recent meeting at the Pharmaceutical Contract Management Group about site payments, pharma sponsors and clinical research organizations (CROs) outlined the complicated and manual process of paying clinical trial sites.

We have heard from countless sponsors and CROs about the difficulties they face when trying to maintain timely payments to clinical trial sites scattered around the globe. There are difficulties with reporting, indirect tax considerations that vary country by country and a multitude of other global complexities.

The reality is that a lot of the industry still handles payments manually through Excel spreadsheets combined with enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. This pieced-together solution often results in late and inaccurate payments to sites.

Excel is a fine program, but it and similar software weren’t developed specifically with the payment process in mind. They require users to dig through spreadsheets and create workarounds to execute payments. Without payment technology, processing payments can be a time consuming and error prone process, and it can be difficult to track accruals which is needed to manage cash flow.

We estimate that roughly 40 percent of new sites that participate in a trial drop out after their first study, citing late payments as one of the key factors. So what does this mean for life science companies that are expanding into new regions, expanding the size of their trials, etc.?

Throughout the industry, pharma companies are bringing payment technology in-house, similar to what happened with electronic data capture (EDC), which can centralize the process for CROs and give sponsors the insight they need.

Interestingly, life science companies and CROs have an opportunity to drive site behavior by linking EDC to their payments process, which can improve the site experience through timely, accurate payments, while also encouraging sites to enter data faster.

At the end of November, we are organizing a webinar with Victoria Moore, executive director of global business finance at INC Research and Shaun Williams, director of investigator payments, also of INC Research. They will walk through their experience transitioning a large pharma company from a custom in-house developed tool to turnkey technology for their payment processes.

If you’re still using Excel to manage site payments, this webinar will discuss alternatives to streamline the process. I am certain you will walk away with a new outlook on site payments.

Keywords: Site Payment, Clinical Trials, Electronic Data Capture



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