How did Bayer become a preferred partner for clinical trials?
After encountering challenges in its clinical trial site management processes and timeline, Bayer conducted a comprehensive review of its site management processes and identified site payment improvements as a focus area. When it comes to site-sponsor relationships, payment management has a significant impact on both the partnership and site activity. Managing complex invoicing processes, following up with sponsors on payment statuses or reconciling payments all take time that could be better spent recruiting patients and conducting research.
In the US, Bayer identified opportunities to enhance payment efficiency, timeliness and accuracy to strengthen its site relationships, enable better-informed decisions and contribute to its goal of becoming a preferred clinical trial site partner. Downstream, these site payment improvements targeted reducing administrative burdens for both Bayer and its clinical partners and improving study closeout.
The company sought help from Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) to transform its clinical site invoicing and payment approach. Bayer focused on addressing three key pain points:
- Reliance on manual processes: Bayer’s current state process required manual — and often duplicative — effort to cross-reference site activities against the original contract and budget.
- Lack of transparency: Tracking and reporting invoice and payment statuses across multiple data sources caused additional difficulties in achieving payment accuracy and for the clinical sites to quickly reconcile their reimbursements.
- Inconsistency in timely payments: Overall, the additional time and effort required for the process left Bayer at risk for delayed payment statements. Further, payment statements themselves were often difficult for the clinical sites to understand.
Site payment solution streamlines processes and lowers costs
After an in‑depth examination of Bayer’s processes and an understanding of future state goals, the Automated Site Payments and Invoice Resolution (ASPIREs) program addressed Bayer’s challenges on four fronts:
- Process efficiency: reduce inefficiencies in Bayer site management and, ultimately, for sites and clinicians in parallel
- Site satisfaction: enable timely, accurate payments and reduce payment disputes to improve site satisfaction
- Transparency: provide real-time reporting on invoicing and site payment statuses with increased transparency
- Resource allocation: utilize third-party services and payment analytics to drive efficiencies through eliminating manual tasks and duplicative efforts
Innovation that improves how patients experience clinical trials
ASPIREs enabled Bayer and its clinical trial site partners to experience an expedient, streamlined clinical trial process. Among improvements in the US, Bayer’s average cycle time for payment to site dropped from 75 days to fewer than 35 days. The company was able to easily make its payment dates and increase the satisfaction of physicians and clinical trial sites. By reducing the administrative burden of payment processes, Bayer was able to continue focusing on driving innovation.
The results highlight significant ROI in the US, with global data expected soon:
reduction in number of payment-related questions and disputes
reduction in cycle time for payment to site (payment processing)
reduction in number of templates required for reporting and forecasting
reduction in monthly hours spent supporting payment processes per study, per resource
As Mark Ryan, Bayer’s US Head of Site Management, said, “Partners and patients can count on best practices being used in Bayer-sponsored studies.” Automation has driven clear efficiencies and cost savings for Bayer. Ultimately, it is a differentiator in the marketplace that improves Bayer’s customer service. As Bayer continues to act on its commitment to become a preferred partner, it enables clinical trial sites to focus on what’s most important: driving access to cutting-edge therapies and revitalizing patient care.
Contributor: Salman Shah, Principal, Consulting, Business Design, Health Research & Development (R&D) Lead, Ernst & Young LLP