Within the industry, there has been a constant struggle by sponsors to create a site payment process that’s not only efficient but timely and transparent. Indeed site payments continue to be a thorny issue among sponsors and site staff. Depending on whether you’re using a CRO or a service provider, there are strategies that if adopted can alleviate and improve the sponsor-site dynamic. Below are seven things to consider:

1. Engage Early

Before the clinical trial agreement is signed, be sure to clarify with sites how clinical payments will be carried out. To avoid bottleneck issues at the time payments are due, it’s crucial there’s clarity over how the process will work. As long as there’s a clear payment structure in place, any issues that may occur can be resolved quickly and efficiently.

2. Automate and Centralize Information Where Possible

To ensure a consistent payment cycle, implement an automated process where your in-house staff, CRO partner or service provider are paid on a regular basis. Bear in mind that while larger sponsors might be able to adopt an automated payment schedule with a functional service provider, small to mid-size companies may not have that luxury. Nevertheless, having an automated payment process in place could reduce cycle times by weeks.  

3. Customized Clinical Site Payment Approval Process

Take a moment to reassess internal site payment strategies, particularly approval processes. A close inspection may reveal there are procedures that could be improved as well as streamlined. Oftentimes, sponsors employ a one-size-fits-all approach to payment approvals, and it’s important there’s a process in place that’s tailored to each site. By improving procedures it can improve the rate in which sites are paid. This could have a knock-on effect that ultimately ends up with patients receiving better care.

4. Provide Accurate Payment Details

When making payments it’s important that there’s detailed information covering the scope of the payment. Additionally, make sure processes are in place for the sites to receive this information.

5. Implement Clinical Site Payment Surveys

Have optional surveys that assess payment processes. It’s beneficial to rollout the survey at the start and end of a study so sponsors have clarity over what works and what doesn’t.

6. Prioritize Funding

Sponsors should pay close attention to when sites are paid to ensure there aren’t any delays in payment funding (or when invoices are received). Setup a process that monitors when in-house staff and CRO partners are paid making sure the payments are completed in a timely manner.

7. Clarify Clinical Trial Agreement (CTA) Language

Make sure the CTA document clarifies clearly the structure of payments. It should also provide the contact information to the relevant party within the sponsor organization (or the function service provider). In the event a payment issue needs to be escalated, ensure sites have a point of contact to resolve the matter.


*This article was adapted from ‘Implementing Investigator Site Payment Strategies for Improved Sponsor-Site Relationships