Addressing the Risk and Resource Drain of Patient Reimbursements

Michael Popko, Director of Disbursements for the University of Pennsylvania, together with his Penn team, are working with the clinical trial coordinators to learn how to make their site experience more efficient.

One area that seemed to be a growing problem for the research operations is timely participant payments. Studies used petty cash, checks and gift cards to reimburse clinical trial participants, but struggled with the lack of security, automation and visibility into the payments.

The struggle with payments affected everyone in the clinical trial process – from the research coordinators to the administrators. Coordinators were frustrated with the inability to track payments and the lack of security associated with handling so much cash. Administrators were frustrated with the lack of visibility into payment activity, cumbersome reconciliation processes, and limited reporting capabilities of manual processes. Popko knew, in order to sustain the support of the University’s leadership position, it needed a payment automation solution that could scale with the growing research program.

A Prove Solution Backed by an Expert Team

Popko evaluated a number of solutions to address the payment reimbursement issue. While there were numerous solutions that provided automated patient reimbursement, the ClinCard solution was the best fit for the needs of the University’s research program. 

There were a number of differentiators that set the ClinCard solution apart from the other options in the market. The most obvious areas that set ClinCard apart were that the solution was configurable to the unique needs of the research studies and also scalable with the evolving clinical trial landscape. Popko and his Penn team decided to pilot the ClinCard solution to ensure it was a good fit for the program. During the trial, the Greenphire team illustrated a core expertise in technology and clinical trials, and proved it was a truly committed partner. Throughout the course of the pilot, Popko had regular discussions with the research coordinators to gain feedback and input on the solution to ensure there was a constant line of feedback and refinement in how the solution can meet the needs of the program.

A Long-term Partner for Success

After the successful pilot program, Popko and his team decided on a larger implementation for the ClinCard solution. The pilot program helped the larger implementation to go smoothly and effectively, ensuring it was completed within the agreed upon timeline.

Shortly after the implementation, there was a clear savings of time and resources across the research programs using the ClinCard solution. By eliminating the manual administrative processes associated with making payments, there was a significant reduction in errors and rework associated with the payment processes.

The program was able to ensure that the clinical operations team remained focused on conducting the clinical trial. Quoting Popko, “We are so excited to have this payment option now available, and based on our adoption to-date, we’re just beginning to tap into its potential.”

Since implementation, Popko and his team have seen the value in the speed and visibility of the payment process. The value was also clear when it came time to run reports and document site activity. He is currently working with other research departments within the university to help them understand the value of the solution and potentially use it for their studies as well. 


“We are so excited to
have this payment
option now available,
and based on our
adoption to-date, we’re
just beginning to tap
into its potential."

Michael Popko, Director of Disbursements for the University of Pennsylvania

Download the UPenn Case Study