Closing the Loop: Integrating Your CTMS and GL Systems to Improve Financial Visibility

Ryan Monte
Senior Product Marketing Manager, Forte
June 26th, 2018

When we talk with our customers about what drove them to adopt Forte’s OnCore Enterprise Research system, one of the most common answers is “financial visibility into our research.” Academic medical centers, cancer centers and health systems are typically complex, layered organizations with many moving parts. Negotiating budgets, managing billing, conducting coverage analyses and building charge masters are just a few of the financial tasks researchers need technology to manage day in and day out. A clinical trial management system (CTMS) such as OnCore is an ideal tool to manage these tasks, and to provide the financial visibility that institutions need to manage their research and ensure they’re being compensated by sponsors.

Managing a complex process

As CTMS have evolved to manage more and more financial aspects of a protocol, integrations with financial systems have become a necessity. A key financial need for large research organizations is reconciling the payments they receive from sponsors. In order to truly use OnCore as the source of truth for payments collected for a protocol, payment receipts need to be consistently and correctly entered into the system.

A CTMS like OnCore is capable of generating sponsor invoices triggered by events on the study calendar. The CTMS can provide a complete set of billable research activities and invoices, and institutions typically use a general ledger (GL) system to manage the payment of those invoices. However, for OnCore to provide a comprehensive view into the financial standing of a protocol, those payments need to be sent back to OnCore upon receipt.

Creating efficient financial workflows

For large academic institutions with a significant research volume, manually managing these invoice and receipt workflows can be a challenge. Regardless of the CTMS used, there have historically been few options to automate the process. Recently, we collaborated with our customers to solve this problem through integrations between OnCore and GL systems, including Workday, SAP and Oracle Peoplesoft. These custom interfaces automate the two key processes: sending invoices from the CTMS to the GL system, and reconciling payment for research activities in OnCore.

The first interface provides invoice information from OnCore to the GL system via custom-formatted file. The institution’s GL systems team configures their system to automatically add the invoice and bill the sponsor based on this information. This simple workflow eliminates the challenging and time-consuming manual processes of managing invoices between the two systems.

Once the invoice has been paid and entered into the GL system, the second component of this interface sends the receipt back to OnCore via a similarly-formatted file. When this payment is reconciled and associated with the protocol in OnCore, it helps provide part of the larger financial snapshot of that protocol. Customers can see what activities have been paid, which are still outstanding and where to focus their accounts-receivable (AR) efforts.

This streamlines the process for customers and allows them to be much more proactive in seeking payment from sponsors. In the past, the financial reporting that led to these AR efforts occurred much later in the protocol timeline. Now financial teams can see invoice and receipt info in real-time, allowing them to view the financial status of a protocol and act upon that information much more quickly and efficiently.

Enhancing efficiency across your institution

The integration above is just one of many that organizations are using to boost efficiency and data integrity within their research. While financial integrations are a key component of these efficiencies, other CTMS integrations related to IRB systems, EMR systems and more can help drive new workflows at your organizations.

In our upcoming webinar, Reduce Administrative Burden with Integrated Research Solutions, Jon Tack, Director of Product Management at Forte, will address these integrations. He’ll discuss how the industry has integrated numerous systems throughout the timeline of a protocol, and how they can significantly reduce redundant processes, allowing staff to focus more time on research and less on low-value administrative tasks. Register today!