The Power of Choice: Participant Preference in Clinical Research Stipends

Kristina Lopienski
April 7th, 2020

Compensating research subjects for the time they spend participating on a clinical trial is a common practice. A typical protocol has a chosen stipend amount, reimbursement limits, a schedule of payments and a form of payment selected. This all sounds great, but there’s one thing that’s missing: the patient’s choice.

Though the participant doesn’t make decisions on most of these elements, form of payment is one variable that can easily include participant input. Still, there aren’t enough trials incorporating the patient’s choice.

Consider the answers to these questions:

  • Do you know what each participant prefers?
  • How often do you ask participants what they want?
  • Have you offered participants a choice of anything lately?

If the answers to these questions are “no” or “not sure,” you’re missing an opportunity to increase participant satisfaction.

With all the emphasis on patient-centricity in clinical research, there is still an overwhelming amount of disconnect between big companies and the patients they are trying to reach. Putting the patient first is critically important, and it means not making assumptions or decisions for them.

Benefits of offering a payment choice to participants

When it comes to forms of payment in general, think of the many different methods available today for making purchases. Not all of them are convenient or practical for everyone, but that’s why there are several options. The variety of available payment options in daily life means some people become frustrated when a business doesn’t accept the form of payment they prefer to use. Clinical trial participants who receive stipends and reimbursements for study visits may feel the same way when offered a form of payment that’s not ideal for them.

The shift toward patient-centricity means adopting new technologies that have a positive impact on the participant’s experience and can reflect their lives, needs and expectations. The value of choice is powerful. Letting each participant choose for themselves makes their trial experience more convenient and personalized.

Each participant deserves to be a decision-maker and something as small as payment method can make a big difference. With all these benefits, why don’t more trials offer multiple payment options?

Misconceptions in regards to offering multiple payment options include:

  • It seems like it would be too expensive to offer multiple methods
  • It seems like it would be too much work to offer more than one choice
  • What we have works just fine

Good news! Turns out it’s a lot easier and more affordable than you may think. Not only is it possible to reduce the number of steps it takes to pay participants, but also can be done in the same short number of steps for a variety of payment methods. Furthermore, this can be more cost-effective than cutting checks. This ultimately allows participants to choose what’s best for their own unique needs to provide a more flexible and convenient clinical trial experience.

Learn More

To learn more about finding the right technology to make payments to clinical trial participants easier and more patient-centric, join us for an open demo of Forte Participant Payments on Wednesday, April 15 at 11AM Central.

This article was originally published October 11, 2016.