Leveraging technology to optimize the processes of budget build, budget negotiation, and payments

There is value to be gained in utilizing suitable technologies to support the financial processes of your study. Whether this would be for digitizing the budget build process, negotiating the budget with clinical sites via an online platform, or leveraging the re-use of data points to execute payments, the opportunities are vast. 

Efficient use of time and resources 

Due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have been restricted to working from home. Subsequently, allowed us all to experience how technology can efficiently support us in our day-to-day activities. Moving forward, we should consider these learnings when assessing our organizational processes and technology landscape. When it comes to the financial aspects of study start-up and execution, manual Excel-based processes, and single, disconnected systems are still very much the norm.   

This approach consumes time, impacting the speed of study initiation and sponsors’ payment execution frequency to clinical sites during execution.

Budget building and negotiation – online platform 

The creation of the budget template usually occurs in an Excel format, and is shared with the clinical sites through email. This rigid process leaves much to desire both for the sponsor and for the clinical sites participating in the study. A digital solution to support budget building and negotiation between sponsor and site can potentially provide great value. The value is not only in optimizing the negotiation process but also by creating transparency. Another end-result is establishing the opportunity for a long-lasting relationship for both the sponsor and the site. 

Re-use of data between processes 

The links between the budget build, budget negotiation, and clinical payment processes are often non-existent. By exploring and leveraging the technological opportunities in this space, sponsors can find value in the re-use of data throughout these different processes. The data points created in the budget build and negotiation process contain many of the same data points sponsors need and use as the foundation to execute payments to the clinical sites. By having a single platform, or several solutions with well-defined interfaces, the need for duplicative data entry diminishes.   

Adopting a risk-based approach to monitoring – with a positive impact on payments 

Two of the most commonly used payment triggers happen upon; 

  • receipt of invoice from the clinical site 
  • Source Data Verification (SDV) of EDC data at the clinical site by the monitor  

Both events are resource-intensive and far from automated in most cases, hence why this is a big factor in delaying payments to clinical sites. If we take a closer look at the second trigger listed above, it might be worth exploring a redefinition of payment triggers. Risk-Based Monitoring (RBM) isn’t new but significantly impacts various organizational aspects when implemented. The speed at which clinical payments are executed relies heavily on EDC data – and whether sponsors trust the data entered by sites. With RBM in place, payments can be executed at a higher frequency by relying on a trust-based model – not the speed of SDV at sites. 

Ease of use – sites’ perspective 

Sites benefit significantly from a platform that facilitates budget negotiation and tracks the progress of clinical payments. Having multiple systems with multiple different log-ins is, however, not. Sponsors should provide a unified platform for clinical sites with easy access, clear financial overview, and online help.

Do you get the most out of your budget build, negotiation, and payment processes currently? 

HERAX guides organizations seeking to digitize the budget build process or implement a platform for site budget negotiation and payment tracking.

At HERAX, we support our clients in optimizing their processes. We provide guidance throughout the exploration, assessment, and selection of vendors to deliver value-adding technologies supporting these processes.

Clinical research technology and payments

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Nikolaj Andersen

Nikolaj Andersen is a Pharma Business & IT Consultant. He specializes in analyzing and optimizing clinical processes, developing quality documentation, and implementing process improvements and IT solutions for Life Science companies.

Having supported global projects across the clinical landscape, specifically connected to EDC, CTMS, IxRS, and eTMF, Nikolaj has a deep understanding of the operational processes these systems support. Combining his clinical knowledge with his insight into the financial aspect of an organization, Nikolaj is well suited to foresee and understand the challenges enterprises face across the clinical payment process.

Nikolaj has a strong background in Management and Clinical Development. He also holds a Master of Science in Business Administration and Bioentrepreneurship and a BSc in Cellular and Microbial Biology.