According to a survey conducted by CenterWatch, only 16% of all research organizations are profitable, while another 14% only manage to break even. Leaving a staggering 70% of research programs that are either losing money or don’t have the tracking tools in place to know where they stand. While conducting the highest quality research is a major component of each clinical research organization’s objectives, it is also important to achieve profitability and achieve greater levels of business success for both your organization and your employees.
The first part of this two part blog article will cover 3 key business strategies to help research organizations begin moving towards profitability, or improve profitability if you are already there. In the second part of this blog article, due out next week, we will cover 3 additional business strategies. This article will cover:
Draft Your Research A-Team
All good things start with a solid foundation, in a research organization the foundation is made up of the organizations staff. Filling your ranks with the most experience staff possible is a great way to get ahead. Years of experience can help you get a leg up on the competition and help you figure out the most efficient way to do things, saving time and money, which put you on the path to profitability. Additionally, if possible employ a research finance specialist who understands all of the nuances of the billing processes associated with running a clinical trial.
From time-to-time it is also important to conduct work load assessments to ensure that staff is operating at capacity. It also helps you to identify staffing needs for planned future growth.
Manage Your Clinical Trial Portfolio
Many research organizations make the mistake of enrolling in studies that are not a good fit for them. Meaning that they don’t have the necessary experience, resources or patient pool to be as successful as possible. When it comes to managing your clinical trial portfolio there are three things you need to keep in mind. One, select trials that best fit the patient population both in your database and in your geographical area to ensure complete study enrollment. Two, focus on pharmaceutical and device industry sponsored trials. And finally, close non-enrolling trials. Non-enrolling trials are simply costing you extra money.
Streamline Your Pre-Award Process
While the pre-award process is comprised of many different components, in order to attain profitability, it is important to focus on performing a Medicare Coverage Analysis (MCA), budget creation, budget negotiations, contract negotiation, and contract language. Focusing on these areas of the pre-trial process will put you on the path to ensuring that each trial is profitable. Before beginning any negotiations it is important to do a budget analysis on everything associated with a particular study. How much will each procedure cost? How much will I spend on enrollment? Having the answers to questions like this will help you negotiate better budgets. Knowing what each activity costs allows you to ask sponsors for more money when they offer you less money than your actual costs. It is also important to remember that everything can be negotiated, and it is important to negotiate every time.
Implementing these 3 key practices in your research organization is a very effective way of getting on the right track, or helping you stay on track. Stay tuned for more key business practices in the coming weeks.