Revolutionizing patient payments for clinical trial efficiency

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  • 4Minutes

Most clinical trials fail. The probability of success ranges from just 13.8% to 20%. It’s a shocking statistic for an industry whose progress relies heavily on the successful outcome of its trials.

Before a trial even gets to Phase 1, sponsors must prove the product is safe for human use. They navigate a complex set of regulations and application requirements to do so. When a human trial is approved, sponsors face even more challenges; lengthy recruitment, poor engagement and high drop-out rates all contribute to unsuccessful and costly studies. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider and prioritize the patient and their needs early in clinical trial design.

Putting patients first isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also the most commercially viable option. A recent study by The Economist Intelligence Unit found that patient-centric trials are 20% more likely to succeed than traditional trials.

By breaking down barriers to clinical trial participation and making clinical trials accessible to everyone, we create better clinical outcomes and a more robust industry. These are essential steps toward global health equity.

What are the biggest barriers to a successful clinical trial?

The financial burden on patients impacts recruitment rates.

The financial cost of participating in a clinical trial is one of the most significant barriers to trial participation. A study in JAMA Oncology found patients with an annual household income below $50,000 were almost 30% less likely to enroll in clinical trials than higher-income patients, and trial participation decreased as the yearly household income decreased.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. The costs of taking part in a clinical trial can be considerable. There are the dire costs of transportation, potential accommodation on-site and childcare, as well as indirect financial considerations, such as loss of work due to trial participation. Moreover, reimbursements for these expenses can take up to 10 working days.

The current system for patient payments simply doesn’t work, and it contributes to poor diversity in patient populations and an unrepresentative healthcare system.

For patients, the challenges of participating in a clinical trial are clear. But payment inefficiencies continue to lead to poor recruitment, engagement and retention rates, negatively impacting clinical trial outcomes and costing sponsors millions in lost revenue.

Ensuring diversity in clinical trials

Antiquated practices around patient payment systems reduce fairness and diversity. Revolutionizing payment systems improves accessibility in the following two ways:

Geographical diversity

According to a 2021 CISCRP study, travel to and from clinical trial sites is one of the biggest barriers to participation.

The rise in decentralized and hybrid clinical trials goes a long way to encourage geographical diversity in a patient group. However, ensuring patients’ travel expenses are pre-paid, rather than expecting them to pay out of pocket and wait for reimbursement, will undoubtedly have a positive impact.

Social and ethnic diversity

In the US, minority racial and ethnic groups account for nearly 40% of the population. However, in a 2020 report on 53 novel drug trials, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that 75% of the 32,000 participants were white.

Ensuring clinical trial diversity is both a moral and scientific obligation. Making clinical trials affordable, simple and accessible is essential for achieving health equity and advancing inclusive scientific research.

Low patient engagement

Clinical trials can be time-consuming, but patient payment processes only add to patient frustration. Tedious, outdated payment systems create even more time demands and financial strain and thus directly impact patient engagement.

In a CISCRP study, 35% of trial participants reported that “too much time was required” for a trial. Additionally, the length of study visits cited as “somewhat” to “very burdensome” increased from 21% in 2019 to 40% in 2021.

First, reimbursement or stipends are important to compensate patients for their time and effort. Second, processing those payments as quickly and efficiently as possible will keep morale and engagement high.

Revolutionizing payment systems provides much-needed solutions for patients and releases sites from the administrative shackles of manually processing payments. Sites can regain time to focus on patients and their care, enhancing the patient experience and increasing engagement.

Patient payments need transformative innovation. By harnessing cutting-edge technology, we can create more efficient, effective systems that work for everyone.

Our rapid automated patient expense technology has been built by clinical trial experts for the clinical research industry. It addresses inefficiencies, breaks down barriers to participation, fosters patient engagement, and moves us closer to global health equity.

We work with sites, sponsors, CROs, and academic institutions to streamline and simplify patient payments and reimbursements, making the entire payment and reporting process efficient, effective and transparent.

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.