Boosting patient recruitment and retention in clinical trials with next-generation payment systems

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For clinical trials to produce meaningful outcomes within a reasonable timeframe, enrollment and retention are paramount. Unfortunately, patient recruitment and retention rates are often poor, resulting in severe and costly delays.

Staggeringly, over one-third of clinical trials (37%) are under-enrolled, and even then, almost half of participants (40%) drop out before the trial is completed

These low patient recruitment and high attrition rates are costing trial sponsors millions of dollars a day in lost income while slamming the brakes on medical developments and preventing patients from benefiting from advancements in critical healthcare. 

Breaking down barriers to patient recruitment

Desirable and tangible outcomes to clinical trials – ethical, scientific, and financial – all start with successful patient recruitment, closely followed by effective patient retention. 

At the heart of both these critical factors is the patient experience and ensuring trials are accessible to all. 

There can be many perceived barriers to clinical trial participation, such as available time, mistrust of the medical community, and a lack of understanding of the importance of clinical trials. 

Read more about breaking down barriers to clinical trial participation here. 

Another major reason why would-be participants do not enroll is a fear of it costing them money. This barrier should be of particular concern to CROs and sponsors, as it further perpetuates the issue of homogeneity across trial participants.

The current clinical trial landscape in the U.S. is a woeful reflection of the rich diversity of the population.

The FDA found fewer than 20% of drugs approved between 2014 and 2021 had clinical trial data relating to their efficacy and side effects on black patients. The lack of inclusion in clinical trials is a worrying reality that needs to be addressed urgently. One way to help alleviate the problem is through cutting-edge clinical trial technology: specifically, a payment system designed to make life easier for clinical trial participants.

Clinical trial technology helps increase patient diversity

All clinical trial participants benefit from a first-rate payment system, but there’s also a compelling argument that implementing one helps break down barriers to participation. 

Understudied populations, such as children, teenagers, and people in rural areas, need to have their travel costs taken into consideration. At the same time, low-income groups (in which there has historically been a higher number of older people and ethnic minorities) need to have any financial concerns allayed to encourage enrollment.

Read more here on how financial burdens can take their toll on clinical trial patients 

SkyePay: A revolution in patient payments

We built our SkyePay payment system specifically for the clinical trials space. 

For participants, it eliminates the financial burden, with instantaneous payments, and allows participants to be in control of their own payments and reimbursements, via multiple payment methods. 

For CROs/Sponsors, SkyePay minimizes admin time, makes the approval process simple, quick, and easy, and doesn’t require any training or previous experience in using clinical trial technology.

Here are the benefits of SkyePay in more detail:

Benefits of SkyePay for clinical trial participants

  • Fast payments
  • Minimal patient burden
  • A range of ways to receive payment
  • Physical Card options to help different socioeconomic groups to participate
  • Complete data privacy 

Such participant benefits support patient recruitment and ensure that any dropouts are not caused by payment problems or clinical trail technology systems which simply don’t perform. 

Benefits of SkyePay for CROs/sponsors

  • Rapid set up time and intuitive user experience 
  • Various funding options to suit your needs (ad hoc, monthly, upfront, etc)
  • Integrations / bulk payment options
  • No need to keep cash on site
  • Fast approvals
  • Safe, secure, and compliant
  • Offers sponsors full transparency on how funds are being spent
  • Detailed reporting function for reconciliation and keeping budget in-check

All-in-all, using the right medtech solution, such as SkyePay, offers a much-improved user experience for all parties. The slickness of the system means that CROs spend less time on admin and more time with patients, while patients have peace of mind that their participation in the trial is not to the detriment of their bank balance.

Medtech advancements mean more equitable enrollment

The win-win situation made possible by SkyePay means that any objections raised by potential participants regarding cost concerns can be easily met with a demonstration of the system and a short explanation of how it works. 

In today’s modern world, many people have certain expectations when it comes to the standard and usability of technological applications. Implementing a purpose-built system ensures that these expectations are met without making any demands on patients to have advanced technological know-how.

The system alleviates any need for patients to pay for expenses upfront and ensures they receive any reimbursements in super fast time; in short, creating a significantly enhanced patient experience. 

An improved patient experience means higher patient retention rates and, therefore, fewer delays, headaches, and costs for CROs and sponsors.

Removing barriers to enrollment and patient retention helps make much-needed positive progress toward clinical trials becoming more equitable. Ultimately, this leads to better clinical trial outcomes. 

Payment worries or affordability concerns should never be a reason why someone chooses not to participate in or continue with a clinical trial. Now it doesn’t have to be.

Join the patient payment revolution and drastically improve the success of your clinical trials. Book a demo today


Skyelarke is the most intuitive, comprehensive and affordable system for automated patient payments.