Save Time, Minimize Staff Burden and Increase Patient Retention with an Automated Participant Payment System

Marie Cuccia
February 15th, 2018

Payment and reimbursement processes can pose a large administrative burden on clinical research staff. Manually cutting checks and filing for reimbursement through multiple departments can take weeks to process and can increase financial hardship experienced by study participants. By removing tedious back and forth communication and streamlining workflows, an automated participant payment system can relieve administrative staff burden, freeing time for more pressing and billable tasks, while providing participants with immediate compensation and reimbursements for their efforts.

The Burden of a Manual Payment Process

Processing payments manually requires constant administrative attention from site staff, whether they are routine payments or a single payment instance. Some research sites try to alleviate some of the burden of manual check processing by paying their participant stipends with pre-filled gift cards. However, these gift cards can cause additional inconveniences for the research staff. Pre-filled gift cards require additional security to prevent theft and staff must spend time monitoring funds to ensure cards hold a minimum balance to pay participants.

The lengthy back and forth process of manual reimbursements, like issuing and processing checks, can take anywhere from three to eight weeks in order to file the specific reimbursement amount with your finance department and appropriately issue payment to the participant. In addition, as your organization conducts more studies, the burden caused by each of these hurdles compounds. An easy-to-use automated participant payment system, streamlines the compensation and reimbursement process to allow your research staff to take on more pressing tasks.

The Benefits of an Automated Payment System

Employing a system, like Forte’s Participant Payments, reduces the number of steps required to pay participants and increases overall staff efficiency. Streamlined workflows reduce bottlenecks in your payments process and benefit all stakeholders involved, including your finance department, study coordinators and participants. 

Provide Visibility and Control to Your Finance Department

With an automated payment system, your finance department or administrators can maintain better control over payments by setting predetermined stipend amounts and defining reimbursements before each participant visit. Via centralized system designed specifically for enabling administrators, finance personnel can review, approve and reject reimbursements quickly. Increased visibility into payments also allows finance to to quickly and compliantly meet tax and financial reporting needs.

Save your Study Coordinators and Nurses time and resources

With an automated payment system, coordinators spend less time facilitating back and forth communication between the finance department and the participant. Because stipends and reimbursements have been set ahead of time, coordinators simply need to register a participant, check in their visit to the system and pay participants as soon as the study visit is over. This not only relieves your administrative staff of repetitive burden, it also enables them to turn their focus to patient care.

Increase Participant Retention and Satisfaction

By minimizing delays in the reimbursement timeline, patients are no longer required to front the costs associated with participating in a trial. With Forte’s Participant Payments system, organizations can offer participants a range of payment options without compromising their operational efficiency. A participant can choose from direct deposit, reloadable cards or paper checks. If a participant does choose to receive payment in check form, Forte will handle check processing, taking this administrative task away from the research staff. By catering to the diverse needs of each participant, and meeting payment expectations, you increase the chances of patient retention for that particular study and beyond.

An automated workflow will streamline the entire compensation process—from coordinators paying participants immediately following a visit to finance departments utilizing a more efficient review queue for approvals. In the following case study, Indiana University Melvin and Bren Cancer Center employed Participant Payments to streamline their participant payment and compensation system, allowing their staff to allocate more time to the research at-hand.

Download the free case study to see how their research organization realized 52% time savings with Participant Payments.