CapiPay: A system for providing capitation payments to research centers involved in a multicenter clinical research network
In a research setting, capitation is a payment made to a clinical center for completing a study-related task. Capitation is the main avenue for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to reimburse research costs to research centers on a per-patient-enrolled basis. This paper describes the design, building, and implementation of the capitation system CapiPay for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Neonatal Research Network (NRN), a network of clinical research centers conducting multicenter clinical and observational studies. This report details the process of RTI, as the NRN Data Coordinating Center (DCC), assuming responsibility for capitation payments from the funding agency, NICHD, and designing a system that produces accurate and timely payment to the clinical research centers. We also describe the accounting decisions and considerations made in developing this system. This process required working with NIH, RTI project staff, various research and administrative groups within RTI, and the clinical research centers to implement a new payment method. Our goal was to make the transition appear seamless to the research centers and to NIH. The final product is a system that has benefitted NIH and the research centers and that can be customized for use on other DCCs by RTI.