How to Get Buy-in for a Participant Payment System

Ashley Toy
January 21st, 2020

An automated participant payment system can provide a number of benefits for sponsors, CROs and sites, such as boosting patient satisfaction, improving workflows, increasing efficiencies and reducing payment errors.

Proposing changes to a process, especially one involving the use of new technology, may bring on resistance and objections from both staff and leadership. By engaging stakeholders early on in the process, you are more likely to increase user adoption and find a solution that meets your organization’s goals.

Tips for getting buy-in

Implementing a new way to pay subjects is a strategic decision that should answer the question “What’s in it for me?” for all stakeholders. To generate excitement about switching to an automated payment system, here are some tips to get buy-in from key stakeholders.

1. Do your homework

  • Identify the primary stakeholders in your organization and the specific roles and responsibilities each has in the patient compensation and reimbursement process.
  • Engage and openly communicate with staff about their pain points with the existing payment process and important areas for improvement, such as freeing up a study coordinator’s time spent on payment-related activities.
  • If possible, survey current research subjects. Try to gather qualitative and quantitative data about how long it takes them to receive payment after a visit, their satisfaction in the current payment process and the compensation method they would prefer to receive funds (e.g., reloadable debit card, direct deposit, paper check, etc.).

2. Evaluate multiple vendors

  • Watch demos, talk to vendors, read testimonials and case studies, and compare and document the pros and cons of different participant payment systems.
  • Evaluate payment terms and conditions, common implementation timelines and the amount of time needed to train users.
  • Ensure the chosen stipend and reimbursement payment system addresses users’ pain points.
  • Determine if the vendor-partner offers the type of payment method(s) you would like to offer your patients based on the results from your patient survey, and that it helps solve common frustrations with the current method.
  • Create a current state analysis on the system in use – from the tangible to the intangible. Tangible points to consider may include the amount of time spent by stakeholders on payment-related activities, the time and cost to manually cut checks, the turnaround time it takes for patients to receive their payments, or the number of payment errors found within a specific period of time. Establish a baseline.
  • Create a cost/benefit analysis.

3. Gain support

  • Look to champions and influencers in different departments of your organization and gain their support to build excitement for the change.
  • Communicate to users, champions and influencers on how this change will positively affect them and resolve their pain points. Address any final concerns on items such as implementation and training. Keep communication open and honest.

4. Be prepared

  • Work with your chosen vendor to build a business case for adopting the patient payment technology. Ask the vendor to provide case studies, testimonials and overall guidance.
  • Before you pitch the idea to leadership, be sure you know your audience, their values and primary goals. Make it easy to understand and see why this change would benefit the organization’s overall goals, from reducing administrative tasks to increasing patient satisfaction and compliance.
  • Prepare answers to potential objections.
  • Create a business plan to include the current state analysis, value and benefits of making a switch, costs of the system, implementation timelines and stakeholders involved.

5. Make the pitch!

  • Present the business plan. Discuss the motivation(s) for the change including the tangible and intangible problems with the current system.
  • Tie in organizational goals to the benefits received using an automated payment system. State how it will advance the goals of the organization in a positive way by showing the value and communicating the vision.
  • Be prepared to show concrete data or ROI to leadership with an actionable implementation plan.
  • If needed, show a comparative report on the pros and cons of different payment systems. Show third party validation through vendor-provided customer testimonials and case studies.
  • Offer to set up a demo of the system for the leadership group with the vendor.
  • Ask leadership pertinent questions, work to overcome objections and be prepared to listen.

Getting Approval

Congratulations, you’ve gotten approval to proceed! Now what? Communicate, communicate, communicate! Ensure leadership expresses their buy-in and strong belief in the value and benefits your new system will provide both the organization as a whole, as well as individual stakeholders. Make the decision open and transparent to all. Openly discuss timelines, training and the implementation schedule with users and explain how the system will change current processes in a positive way.

Once this is accomplished, it’s time to lean on your vendor-partner to help guide you through implementation and ensure your users are trained and the system is up and running quickly and effectively.