MCC Industry Practice Insight Reports

Clinical Site Payment Study:

An examination of how Sponsors and CRO organizations measure site payment processes – trigger events, cycle times, performance expectations compared to actual results and site payment strategies

The perspective of sites regarding the site payment process has been well researched but there has been less research looking at the perspective of Sponsors and CROs.  MCC conducted this study to gain insight into what Sponsors and CRO organizations are measuring about the site payment process, how well the process is working and where there are opportunities for improvement.

The online survey contained 11 questions that varied according to organization type selected (Sponsor: site payment outsourced; Sponsor: site payment in-house; CRO/site payment vendor). Survey responses were collected April – June 2017. Results represent the experiences of 56 respondents from 43 distinct organizations – large and small from across the industry. Responses were grouped by organization type so that differences between these organization types could be examined.

Key Questions Explored In This Study

The survey gathered detailed data from Sponsors and CROs about the following site payment topics:

  • Importance of the site payment process
  • How well the site payment process works
  • Triggers used to initiate the payment process (USA and non USA)
  • Cycle time metrics used
  • Cycle time performance targets (USA and non USA)
  • How well “the payer” is performing against established performance targets
  • Metrics used to monitor the process
  • Frequency of occurrence of various issues
  • Strategies that have worked well in improving the process


The findings from the survey offer real insights into how well the site payments process works from different perspectives. It shows the most common triggers used, cycle times measured, typical cycle time targets and how those targets compare with performance reported by investigative sites. The report shows the metrics typically used by organizations to monitor the site payment process. In addition, the typical frequency of issues is described along with successful strategies used by organizations to improve the site payment process.

Table of Contents

  • List of Figures
  • Executive Summary
  • Survey Methodology and Respondent Demographics
  • Key Findings
  • Discussion
  • Recommendations
  • References
  • About the Metrics Champion Consortium

List of Figures

  • Figure 1: Profile of respondents by organization type
  • Figure 2:  Importance of sites payment process
  • Figure 3:  Agreement with statement “Overall, the process of site payments works well”
  • Figure 4: Agreement with statement “Overall, the process of site payments works well” by sourcing strategy (sponsor using CRO, sponsor not outsourced, CRO, sites)
  • Figure 5: High-level site payment process flow used in survey
  • Figure 6: Site payment triggering events
  • Figure 7:  Sponsor and CRO respondents with site payment process cycle time targets
  • Figure 8:  Distribution of site payment trigger to payment made cycle time targets (Sponsors/CROs)
  • Figure 9:  Comparison of performance targets (MCC 2017) to site reported payment performance (CenterWatch Site Survey 2015)
  • Figure 10: Mean number of metrics used by organization type
  • Figure 11:  Metrics used by Sponsor/CRO respondents
  • Figure 12:  Issues in order of frequency of occurrence for Sponsor/CRO/Site respondents
  • Figure 13:  Comparison of payment process issues by type of sourcing
  • Figure 14: Percent of respondents who rated issue frequency as Always or Fairly Often compared with percent of respondents using an associated metric
  • Figure 15: Frequency of payment delays versus difficulties in reconciliation
  • Figure 16: Strategies used to improve the site payment process (Sponsors/CROs)



MCC members are eligible to receive a 20% discount rate on this report. Please use the discount code available through the MCC Member Website or contact MCC to obtain the code.

To be invoiced for the report, please contact Lara Knitter for assistance.