How eClinicalGPS played an integral role in a top 10 global sponsor’s mission to modernize clinical investigator payment processes
The largest independent biotech in the world is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing & manufacturing innovative therapeutics.
In support of this mission, this Sponsor is increasing both the number and complexity of clinical trials being conducted around the world. As protocol complexities increase, there are more global requirements and contracts being impacted. This includes the need to support data transparency reporting requirements along with an increased expectation for their team to work within numerous technology solutions to support a top-performing trial while minimizing risk. These factors have placed a significant importance on payment processes.
The clinical trial landscape is not the only trend impacting payments. The increasing capabilities and availability of specialized, scalable solutions, the movement to SaaS, and maturing of payment solutions are becoming more relevant for large pharmaceutical companies.
The limitations of the Sponsor’s existing processes were impacting their sites as well as their business. The clinical sites were suffering from resource constraints, spending valuable time dealing with payment discrepancies. They also were suffering from the inability to predict income, uncertain of when a payment was going to arrive.
The Sponsor was facing difficulties with tracking payment details, critical for financial transparency and requirement details. There was a limited number of resources supporting payment tasks that were creating delays in study activities. Most importantly, the sponsor’s reputation and credibility with site partners was being impacted.
The Sponsor began to evaluate solutions to automate their site payment process, but quickly recognized that by only addressing the payments portion of the process, they would be limited in their benefits of this solution. The Sponsor chose the eClinicalGPS because it was the leading solution in the market and the only solution solely built to address clinical trial payments with a focus on site centricity, designed for efficiency and a better site experience. This “best in breed” solution gave the Sponsor confidence in the technology, knowing that the sophisticated solution was not an “add on” to an existing product, rather that the team has built the product with the flexibility needed for their payment process. Given that the eClinicalGPS is a stand-alone product, the Sponsor felt that only this solution offered the flexibility to be configured to fit their needs.
The team took a holistic approach which included standardizing global budget processes, creating an internal clinical payments database and implementing key integrations (ERP, EDC) that connected to the eClinicalGPS to distribute payments to sites.
The main focus in implementing this solution was to remove manual touchpoints. With an automated end-to-end process, the team has truly automated the entire payment process, and has even been able to leverage the data for budget design. Automating configuration improves controls, reduces errors and keeps the sponsor in the ownership role. Additionally, with a robust payment trigger, collection process holdback is no longer necessary.
The Sponsor and Greenphire completed a successful 4 study pilot, followed by the implementation of over 20 early adoption studies spanning 19 countries. At the current state, the rollout spans over 30 countries and includes upwards of 90 studies. To date, there have been nearly 2500 total unique payees paid. As a scalable solution, the eClinicalGPS continues to meet the SLAs in place to ensure it is built to meet the enterprise-wide deployment. While the ease of adoption continues to vary by country, there is a multifaceted team to support the study and ensure staff is appropriately trained and quickly onboarded. Involvement from Information Systems, Finance & Accounting, Data Management, and Clinical Operations teams has been critical to the success of this project. The implementation of the eClinicalGPS has considerably reduced the administrative burden associated with various processes, including the elimination of manual checks related to invoice reconciliation, which could entail 6-7 handoffs. As a result of eClinicalGPS’ invoice automation, 10-20% time savings have been experienced across 100 SCBAs for elevated site satisfaction, along with significantly improved accuracy.
As with any technology implementation and transformational period, there is continuous improvement and opportunity to further streamline and simplify the process. The key next stage is to seamlessly integrate budgeting and contracting capabilities with the eClinicalGPS, to further automate the process and allow for a more holistic view of the planned / actual expenditures.