Commonly performed procedures in clinical research: a benchmark for payment.

Posted: Nov 01, 2012
Contemp Clin Trials. 33. 5. 860-8.
KEYWORDS: Remuneration, Financial Incentives


Data on payments for clinical procedures performed in trials may provide a benchmark for decisions on how much to pay trial participants.

Why this item may be useful

The authors of this article collected data on how decisions were made about assigning inconvenience units for specific clinical research procedures and how much patients were reimbursed at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center. Inconvenience units were calculated for both inpatient and outpatient procedures based on the fiscal structure of the protocol, the amount of discomfort experienced by patients, and the setting in which patients spent time in the study (outpatient versus inpatient). Although the Clinical Center did not have general guidelines for assignment of inconvenience units—and investigators did not always implement rules or benchmarks that existed for some procedures—there was convergence in practice around the center of the distribution for each procedure studied. Thus, these data may be useful as a tool in determining assignment of convenience units and calculating payments for trial participation.


  • Data were collected on 36,273 incidents of payment made to research participants from August 2004 to August 2008 at the NIH Clinical Center.
  • The five most frequently utilized procedures for which inconvenience units were assigned were MRI, blood draw, psychological or cognitive testing history/physical exam, and intravenous line.