You may have asked this question, or some variation of it, before: “How much should we pay principal investigators for their work on a clinical trial?” Principal Investigators (PIs) are the lifeblood of your research operations. They aren’t paid by third-party payers for research-related activities, nor are they compensated any other way for their tasks. What’s more, PIs take on a heightened level of risk when engaging in a research trial, since they must be appropriately trained (Health and Safety Professional training, device training, etc.); they often monitor the patient more closely than with regular standard of care, and they are ultimately responsible for all conduct within the trial.
The method by which you pay PIs can play a big role in the success, or lack thereof, of your site, and there are numerous compliancy laws you need to abide by. Fortunately, a strong CTMS can help you manage the three most popular methods of paying your PIs and ensure proper payment compliance.
The Research Salary model pays the PI a fixed salary for their time spent working on clinical trials. You’ll always know your expense amount, and the PI will always know the amount they will be paid, resulting in less time with administrative tracking. This method can prove to be costly on a per hour analysis and could be construed as receiving compensation above fair market value—one of the key compliance rules outlined in our latest webinar (hyperlink). A CTMS can ensure you’re remaining compliant.
Percentage of Study Budget
This method sees the PI is paid a fixed percentage of the final study budget for all their time spent working on the specific clinical trial. You share the risk with the PI with a fixed PI percentage and spend less time with administrative tracking. While the amount of time a PI works on the trial vs. the actual dollars compensated could be considered compensation above fair market value, a CTMS can keep track of time vs compensation so you don’t run into compliance issues.
With the hourly rate model, a PI would physically fill out documentation describing the exact time spent for a specific study, and the activity performed. This is the most compliant method as you are compensating for actual documented time spent on the clinical trial. While PIs may will dislike the additional work needed on their part to track their time and effort, a CTMS can track time and assure proper payments, which helps strengthen the relationship between you and your PI and increase the likelihood of working together again in the future.
A strong CTMS can track PI payments, notify you of upcoming payments, and organize your PIs so you spend less time on administrative duties.
Find out more payment methods, and how to ensure compliance when paying your PIs, in our latest webinar: Key Considerations to Ensure Compliant PI Compensation.