Travel arrangement is becoming a key point of focus in clinical research – an area that often creates hurdles for sites and participants. In fact, according to NIH, “50% of participants cite that transportation in clinical trials is a barrier to retention”. Often, travel in clinical research is associated with studies that require participants to travel long distances and stay for extended periods of time - including flights, car services, hotels, etc.
While complex travel is certainly vital to many studies, we can’t ignore the local transportation needs of participants. Whether traveling from 3,000 miles away or 30 miles, travel can be burdensome - barriers include lack of personal transportation and/or access to public transportation, inability to drive, associated costs – all reasons a participant may not be able to get to the clinic. The burden lies not only with the patients but with sites as well, as they are responsible for ensuring engagement, satisfaction and ultimately retention. Sponsors and sites alike are searching for solutions to remove logistical challenges to study participation.
One organization, Midlantic Urology Associates, was experiencing similar hardships. They had been employing a single driver for all participant pick-ups. This proved to be inefficient and unsustainable, so they began utilizing taxis. This alternative was costly and unreliable – there had to be a better way.
In the Fall of 2017, Cheryl Zinar, Director of Clinical Research at Midlantic Urology attended an awards ceremony where her Principal Investigator was being recognized. Also being recognized was Greenphire, whose participant payment solution, ClinCard, Cheryl had been using for years in her clinic. Cheryl tuned-in as Greenphire spoke about a collaboration with an investigator site in Houston, Endocrine IPS, PLLC. She heard about how Greenphire partnered with the Site and Lyft during the devastating Hurricane Harvey to ensure patients had means to get to their visits - a time when modes of transportation and routes were extremely limited. It was then that a light bulb went off as Cheryl saw an opportunity to provide this type of convenience for her participants.
Wasting no time, Cheryl worked with Greenphire to orchestrate the introduction of rideshare into her clinic through ClinCard’s integration with Lyft. This enabled Cheryl and the other coordinators at her site to reimburse participants and schedule rides all within one portal for a seamless and transparent workflow.
The efforts were justified as clinical operations were optimized and significant savings realized - $150 cab rides reduced to a maximum of $65 Lyft rides. Most importantly, the participant experience has been enhanced, providing peace of mind in knowing that transportation and associated costs are taken care of by the clinic. In many cases, participants also enjoy the added benefit of a pleasant conversation with their Lyft driver. “My patients love it!”, said Cheryl.
ClinCard’s integration with Lyft has not only improved the experience for patients and study coordinators but has also helped with recruitment as new patients are enrolling in the study as a result of this added convenience. In March 2019, Midlantic Urology Associates’ Bala Cynwyd clinic provided nearly 180 Lyft rides for its patients. As the organization continues to grow, they plan to expand their offering of Lyft through ClinCard to their other sites.
“Words cannot express how happy my staff is, not having to worry about patients cancelling their appointments due to lack of transportation” – Cheryl Zinar