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When paying and reimbursing clinical research volunteers for study participation, what can be done to make the experience more patient centric?
For the clinical research industry, 2016 will be the year of the patient. In all aspects of clinical trials, patient-centricity is being discussed more than ever before. With regard to compensation for research participation, how can we pay patients in more accommodating ways? Below are the top three payment practices to adopt this year to help meet the need of patient-centricity.
1. Let each participant choose from several payment options
In a world where the payment landscape is continuously evolving, there are many different payment methods available when making purchases. Not all of them are convenient or practical for everyone, but that’s why there are several options. For this reason, it’s often frustrating when you encounter a business that doesn’t accept the form of payment you prefer to use. Clinical trial participants who receive stipends and reimbursements for study visits may feel the same way when offered an inconvenient form of payment.
Offering only one method of payment is taking a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead of deciding for them and forcing all patients to accept the same thing, we should treat participants as decision makers and acknowledge that one particular option may not suit everyone. This means providing both modern payment options and traditional forms of payment. Different lifestyles make certain payment methods more attractive than others; it’s subjective and preference will vary person to person. Giving patients a choice is a simple way to be more accommodating and help each patient feel like they have some control over their study participation.
2. Pay participants immediately
In addition to providing participants a potentially inconvenient form of payment, it can be just as inconvenient to make participants wait long periods of time to receive their money. Traditional payment methods such as check processing typically delay funds to participants by four to eight weeks. Making participants wait that long is not timely, especially for trial-related expenses that they would not have incurred otherwise.
Instead of letting that much time pass until a participant receives payment, why not pay them as soon as the study visit has completed? Going electronic can drastically speed up payments, even to the point of letting participants walk away with “money in hand.” When there are no long delays or turnaround times, sites can provide participants with instant gratification.
3. Provide participants visibility into their compensation
Making study payments visible to those receiving them can add another layer of convenience. One way to do this is to provide participants with a web portal or mobile app as a means to check their current balance, have secure access to their account information and manage notification preferences for transactions such as completed transfers. This increased visibility helps prevent confusion and doesn’t leave anyone guessing.
Putting the participant first is a best practice in clinical trials and the compensation of research participants is no exception. Many organizations are realizing the need to be more patient-centric with payments by letting each research volunteer choose their payment method, paying participants faster and giving them visibility into their funds. These seemingly small things can add up and help contribute to a better clinical trial experience for patients. Participant payment practices are evolving. Are you?
Laura Hilty is VP, Product Management & Operations for Nimblify, Inc.