The system, which will be sold to sponsors and CROs, melds Almac’s interactive voice and web response platform with Greenphire’s ClinCard, which is a debit card that is automatically credited when patients perform study-related tasks to accelerate payment.
ClinCard hit the headlines earlier this year when it was named as the tech used to pay patients in Pfizer's REMOTE ‘virtual study’. That trial, which is on-going, uses web- technologies to assess Detrol LA in people suffering from overactive bladder (OAB) in an approach designed to eliminate patient site visits.
The integrated system Almac and Greenphire have developed is similarly focused on making participation more convenient for patients as well as on reducing the administrative burden faced by research personnel, allowing them to focus on more study-specific responsibilities.
An Almac spokeswoman told Outsourcing-pharma.com that: "The main reason for teaming with Greenphire is to provide a way to make payments easier using electronic means that tie the patient visit calendar in the IXRS (IVR/IWR) directly to payments when patients reach certain milestones in the clinical trial.
"Research indicates that patients participate in clinical trial partly for monetary reasons and that compliance with protocol activities can be enhanced through monetary reinforcement. Hence patients that receive quick payment after reaching a study milestone or conducting a particular activity are more likely to be compliant and satisfied patients. To twist an old adage, 'a happy patient is a productive patient."
She explained that the alliance is ‘exclusive’ in that Almac cannot partner with another debit card company and Greenphire cannot partner with another IVR/IWR company to integrate its system or co-market and co-sell this type of service.
While neither firm specified the specific benefits this type of approach offers in terms of time and cost saving, some indication is given in comments by various institutions Greenphire is already working with.
Analysis by the Tufts Medical Centre, which partnered with Greenphire in 2010, suggests that ClinCard can reduce administrative expenses related to patient payment by as much as 70 per cent.
Similarly the University of Kansas Medical Centre Research Institute, which also adopted ClinCard last year, suggested that it can cut admin costs 85 per cent and halve patient-related costs overall
Greenphire, which recently completed a series A financing round, claims ClinCard has an existing client base of more than 140 trials sponsors, research sites, contract research organizations and research universities.