Mural Health Launches Next-Generation Participant Payment & Engagement Platform

Published Nov 14th, 2022

Today, In partnership with my co-founders, Jason Dong and Shawn Milochik, I am announcing the launch of Mural Health and the product platform that we have built, Mural Link. I have set out to build a clinical trials technology platform that prioritizes patients and caregivers. Our platform’s greatest priority is maximizing benefits to clinical trial participants. Our company’s collective mission is to make it easy to participate in clinical research.

Our fundamental belief, our true-north, is that making it easy to participate in clinical research will have meaningful and positive impact on patients, both participants in clinical trials and also patients across the broader global community who benefit from the drugs we bring to market. We believe that making it easy to participate will also create significant value to the sponsors of studies. And our product is designed to be effortless for sites to use. The products we will develop, the discreet components of our platform, will drive participant engagement, retention, and protocol compliance.

Our product platform is called Mural Link (linking the participant to the study). We are launching it with several important feature sets, including a next-generation payment product that is designed to serve patients and caregivers. Our payment technology is an upgrade, in every possible way, over all of the debit-card based products that are in the market today. I will highlight just a few of the upgrades that Mural Link offers:

  • Ability to Choose: We give participants the ability to choose how they are paid.  Our payment delivery options are entirely digital (with the exception of check capabilities – we don’t want to alienate anyone, even slow-adopters of technology). We use the same methods of delivering payment that individuals use in their day-to-day lives (five options to start with additional coming online soon). In other words, we make the experience easy and familiar for the participant.
  • We NEVER Charge a Fee to the Participant: Our product will never charge a fee to any participant. All of the debit-card products in the market charge many fees to the participant.  Some of the most obscene, arguably predatory, are monthly fees charged to the patient for not using their reimbursement fast enough (an “inactivity” fee). Fees are also assessed to the patient to access their funds, receive an account statement, replace a physical card, replace a virtual card, remove all the funds from their account (“account liquidation”) and convert funds to local currency. Mural Link is committed to eliminating this fee structure within clinical trials.
  • No Physical Inventory: Eliminating the need to manage physical card inventory also provides operational efficiency to multiple study stake-holders (e.g. – coordinators now don’t have to lock up a closet full of debit cards. Different cards for different trials? That’s a logistical nightmare). A digital solution eliminates the need for sites to manage card inventory, eliminates fraud risk, speeds study start-up (no need to produce physical products), and reduces study expense, to name just a few benefits.

Is our clinical payments product good? Nope. It is the best. But Mural Link is not just another generic point-solution moving money for participants. We drive robust engagement and generate actionable insights (wait until you see what comes in 2023!).

The primary interface between Mural Link and the participant is a robust proprietary mobile application.  A mobile application allows us to transform a payment product into something much more compelling and strategic. In addition to payments, Mural Link is launching with 3 other critical feature sets including:

  • Patient Insights: Through our mobile application, we will collect satisfaction data from all participants in order to provide insights to stakeholders at both the site and sponsor levels.  Our technology will help identify participants that are having negative experiences. We will empower proactive intervention by the site, if possible, to retain participants who would otherwise drop from the study. Similarly, study teams will be able to identify high performing sites and those that may need additional support, or participant exit-points in protocol design.  Are there weak spots in your protocol that drives attrition? Our product gives you the data to reduce drop-out and protect your clinical data set. A future state of this functionality will include predictive analytics to identify participants most likely to drop-out before they are in a critical state.
  • Transportation: Through our integration with Uber Health patients will be able to call a ride from the Mural Link application. And they won’t have to pay for it (payment happens centrally by the study sponsor via Mural Link). We will, of course, expand this functionality to expand transport modalities and geography-specific options.
  • Communication: As expected, we will deliver standard one-way notifications to participants by email and SMS. But with the introduction of our mobile application, we will also be able to deliver one-way notifications via app-based push notifications.  But, what is most exciting, our mobile application enables secure two-way centralized messaging between the site and the participant. Participant can connect with site personnel directly. In our future state, we will expand tactical functionality of our communication features and also introduce sentiment analysis and other language-based analytics in order to strengthen our insights functionality. We have a few more efforts in this category that we will keep secret… for now.

We will also offer product-centric methods of empowering and incentivizing CROs. We don’t want CROs to just be a pass-through entity that, sometimes, signs our contract. We want to be their true partner.  The same goes for other tech solutions in the eClinical ecosystem. We will integrate, via our API, with complimentary systems that help to improve the experience of the participant.

You might be wondering, why are we doing this now?  What led us to start this business? And how does it all relate to our past work?

As you might imagine, the answer is complicated and there are many layers. The simplest explanation is:

I see a big opportunity to continue my past work. And, more excitingly, to expand on that work in a way that will have a profound impact across a broad scope of people -- participants in trials, our customers, research sites, the internal team that will be employed to scale this business, and the broader global patient population.

This opportunity only exists, however, because the companies operating inside the participant-payment category have failed to innovate. I believe my team is uniquely qualified to modernize the participant experience and execute on the bigger vision that leverages the participant payment in a strategic way.

Mural Health’s product vision is much larger than, simply, creating point-solutions for delivering clinical trial payments. However, participant payments is a core component of product vision.

If you want to learn more about what we are working on, or you want to explore how we might be able to work together,  Please reach out to me and I will be happy to connect with you.

-Sam Whitaker
Co-Founder& Co-CEO
sam@muralhealth.com

www.linkedin.com/in/sam-whitaker/

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