The top complaint from trial sites is the untimeliness and errors around payments, Steve Ayala, president and CFO of Clinverse, told us. He said that often times it can take between six and 18 months after a site finishes its work before the sponsor, CRO (clinical research organization) and site can reconcile what should be paid and before the site receives its payment.
Between 35% and 40% of the industry migrated away from an entirely manual system but to a mix between excel spreadsheets, a CTMS (clinical trial management system) and a variety of other tech tools to help make payments, Ayala said.
Clinverse, Greenphire, CFS Clinical and Payoneer all offer varying global payment systems that can help CROs and sponsors make more timely payments.
Barb Geiger, EVP of CRO Clinipace, and Mark Shapiro, executive director of clinical development at Clinipace, agreed that the Clinpay tool is innovative, but they also said that Greenphire has been in the business longer. Geiger added that on the list of priorities, site payments are on the lower end of what's crucial for upper-level management.
Ayala said Clinverse is “pro-actively targeting” small and mid-size CROs and sponsors, although a number of the top pharma and CROs are beginning to reach out because “we’re the only ones that can handle any term negotiated in a contract.” He noted that implementation of the his company’s Clinpay system is akin to adopting an EDC (electronic data capture) system.
The Clinverse tool is also now being used by CROs and sponsors as a motivator to modify trial site behaviors, Ayala said. In one scenario, Clinpay can allowsites to receive a percentage of the negotiated contract payment when all case report forms required at a particular patient visit have been entered, while a portion of the funds can be held back and released when patient visits are monitored and query free, and the rest is paid at the end of the trial.
Sunshine Deadline Approaching
As the August 1 deadline quickly approaches for pharma companies to begin collecting provider payment data to submit to CMS (Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Service) in March 2014, CROs are beginning to feel the pressure of a law that they perhaps once thought would only tangentially impact them.
Ayala said CROs are beginning to feel pressure from the sponsors they work with to begin adopting tools that will help to compile the data. Many sponsors are also asking for information beyond what CMS is requesting for internal purposes, which is complicating what CROs will have to do to meet these terms of compliance, he added.