The Future of Clinical Service Provider-Sponsor Relationships
The author analyzes the results of a survey that polled pharmaceutical executives and managers about both sides of the outsourcing relationship. Read this and other preferred organization articles in this special issue.
Figure 4: Sponsors' levels of satisfaction with the work that clinical service providers have done.
The data were examined to determine whether a relationship existed between a great fraction of outsourcing spending allocated
to preferred providers and a high level of satisfaction with the work performed or the value received (see Figure 4). Sponsor
respondents whose companies allocated 75% or more of their clinical-outsourcing budgets to preferred providers were about
as likely to be satisfied with the work performed as were respondents whose companies allocated less to preferred providers,
and were more likely to be satisfied than were companies without preferred providers. However, respondents whose companies
allocated 75% or more of their clinical-outsourcing budgets to preferred providers were less likely to be dissatisfied with
clinical service providers' performance than were those that allocated less.
Figure 5: Sponsors' levels of satisfaction with the value received for the money spent on clinical service providers.
Differences between the groups were more pronounced when the value received for the money spent on clinical service providers
was examined. Figure 5 shows that respondents from companies without preferred providers were far less likely to be satisfied
with the value received than were respondents from companies with preferred providers, and the fraction that was satisfied
increased with increased allocation of spending to these relationships. Likewise, only 5% of respondents from companies that
allocated 75% or more of their clinical-outsourcing spending to preferred providers were dissatisfied with the value obtained,
whereas 33% of those from companies without preferred providers were dissatisfied.
Figure 6: What sponsor companies expected of their preferred providers in the recent past (2007–2009).
Altered expectations of preferred providers. In keeping with their need for efficient, high-performing outsourcing relationships, sponsors as a group anticipate increasing
their demands on the providers they choose for preferred relationships, to the point where these relationships come to resemble
what are commonly referred to in the industry as partnerships. In the survey, sponsor respondents were provided with a list
of items and asked to indicate whether they always expected, sometimes expected, or did not expect each one of preferred providers.
They were asked first to reflect on their expectations in the immediate past (i.e., 2007–2009), and then to reflect on their
expectations moving forward (i.e., 2010 and beyond). Figure 6 shows that, between 2007 and 2009, discounted rates was the
only item that was always expected of preferred providers by the majority of respondents. Increased oversight by providers'
senior management ranked second, and access to specific staff members ranked third. The remainder of the items listed were
always expected by less than a quarter of respondents and were not expected by a quarter or more.
Figure 7: What sponsor companies expect from their preferred providers in 2010 and beyond.
For 2010 and beyond, however, expectations of preferred providers changed considerably (see Figure 7). Except for advice or
input regarding strategic planning, all items listed were always expected by at least half of sponsor respondents, and were
not expected by 13% or less.