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Tailoring Patient Payment Innovations | Scout Clinical

Mar 16, 2023

Tailoring Patient Payment Innovations

Clinical trials are complex structures, and their solidarity relies on the active participation of patients, the dedicated services of sites, and the expert oversight of sponsors, which can be a difficult balancing act. In order to avoid disruptions to your trial, it’s important to address issues that may feel disconnected from your research objectives, such as patient payment problems. While difficulties in this area may not always directly affect data, they can lead to dissatisfaction at all levels and, ultimately, lead to participant drop out. Creating a solid structure that maintains its integrity throughout your trial requires carefully constructed patient payment innovations that meet the demands of each stakeholder.

Crafting a well-built payment strategy is tricky because the requirements and wants are as varied from site to site as they are from country to country. Even within each site, challenges differ depending on whether they belong to a participant, the site, or a sponsor:

  • Often, patients want choice. The flexibility to select a different method for each triggered payment — e.g., a debit card for an e-diary entry and a bank transfer for travel reimbursement — not only provides ease, it also makes patients feel heard and empowered.
  • While sites want (and need) satisfied participants, their main goal is usually efficiency. Effective solutions that don’t add work to already overloaded staff smooth the overall process.
  • For sponsors, accuracy is key. While they want everyone happy, they also want it accomplished economically with fast, error-free payments.

Creating a structure with the stability to satisfy each of these stakeholders comes down as much to philosophy as it does to capabilities. While not all-inclusive, the process of bringing innovation to patient payments boils down to three main steps:

1. Be Flexible

While it’s easy to become enamored with your inventive payment solutions, they won’t be right for everyone. Some already-stressed sites prefer to stick to a process they know. Being rigid, even in defense of your innovations, is the antithesis of innovation. In order to start building the right solutions for each site, move past your ingrained ideas and listen to the unique concerns of the client. Leaning into their perspective means you’re solving the actual challenge instead of your perception of it.

This agile, tailored approach should apply to every need of every stakeholder, from patient through sponsor, allowing you to strategize solutions to each individual problem based on the unique ecosystem in which it exists, so you’re innovating your services and capabilities with every ask. When you take that step outside of your own expectations and flex to the specific needs at hand, you’re expanding your knowledge base and informing ongoing innovation, so each new idea and advancement guides your next.

2. Be Efficient

 While efficiency may be a major priority for sites, every stakeholder wants patient payments to run smoothly. Sometimes, though, when you smooth the path for one stakeholder, it may become bumpier for another. By listening to the difficulties of each party, you already have the information you need to determine where you can simplify functionality for one group of stakeholders without adding to the difficulties of another. In some instances, this may require tailored technological solutions that automate processes, enabling enhanced quality control and greater capabilities while limiting the labor required. For example, a site concerned about diversifying their payment options solely because of added workload would benefit from an online portal that allows patients to select their payment method and then automates the review and distribution, satisfying patients with choice and sites with less work.

Remember that a more efficient trial requires robust back-end considerations. A process isn’t smoother if it increases errors. When innovating automation, every trial and site requirement needs to be considered and applied to the configuration of patient payment solutions. By being thorough, you’re ensuring your process keeps sponsors, sites, and participants alike happier.

3. Be a Problem-Solver

It’s probably no surprise that a surefire way to improve satisfaction is to be responsive to problems. Developing tailored solutions up front is important, but if you don’t follow them up with quality support, you’re not achieving the results you’ve aimed for. Perhaps the most important element for providing innovative answers to innovative processes is offering tailored partnerships grounded in personal assistance.

From the larger perspective, innovating patient payments starts with listening to and evaluating the individual challenges of patients, sites, and sponsors. When you head into each scenario with the goals of making the process easier, providing great customer service, and creating mutual value for all stakeholders, you can craft solutions that effectively address the initial request and aid all parties.

On a day-to-day basis, keep patients happy with direct access to patient liaisons who can leverage the knowledge of your entire organization to take swift action in solving patient payment issues. This responsive service eases patient tension while keeping issues from overflowing to the site, and the collective knowledge this personal response builds enables more than just fast payment issue resolution. It’s a living repository that evolves with each solution, offering a continuous stream of new learnings ready to innovate answers to emerging challenges.

Refine Your Payment Solutions

The end goal of strategizing patient payment solutions for clinical trials is, ultimately, delivering on the needs of each party. In order to do this, you must consider every study, sponsor, site, and participant both separately and collectively, listening to problems and weighing the reverberations of your solutions. By consistently being flexible, efficient, and a problem-solver, you’ll develop tailored solutions that better fit the unique needs of all parties and the site ecosystem. When you implement the philosophy outlined above, your exploration of each unique challenge informs every innovation that follows, enabling an informed stream of tailored solutions that relieves the burden on patients, sites, and sponsors.

Explore how Scout Clinical innovates patient payments with agile, tailored solutions informed by decades of experience. 

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