The True Story of the FICO Score – And Why it Matters to Clinical Research Sites

(CHAPEL HILL, NC) – August 15, 2019 (last updated). In recent weeks many of you have heard me making the point that the clinical trial site industry needs more data so that ‘good’ sites can differentiate themselves from ‘bad’ sites.

It would be good for the sites – who will win more business – but more data would also allow CROs a greater ability to select sites that deliver effective clinical trials, ultimately making trials quicker and less costly.

Devana’s IGNITE and PROPEL technology allows important data to be stored and shared by clinical trial sites and site networks as the basis for a scorecard to demonstrate the strength of their performance and case for selection for a clinical trial.

I have often compared the Devana ‘Scorecard’ to the equivalent of a FICO score for the clinical trial site industry. The FICO score is now so commonplace, it struck me that many people do not know the story behind it, the impact it has had on consumer lending and what lessons it holds for the clinical trial site sector.

The FICO score allows banks, credit card companies and other lenders to evaluate the potential risk of lending money to consumers.

Before it existed, lending decisions were based partly on a report prepared on you in utmost secrecy and at the whim of the underwriter at the bank you were applying – apparently the report included such observations as the quality of your furniture and your character!

As ad-hoc and unreliable credit scoring systems were being developed by individual lenders, the FICO Score was developed in 1956 by the engineer William Fair and the mathematician Earl Isaac who had met while working at Stanford. They formed a company Fair, Isaac & Co (the initials of the company spell FICO – which is what the company re-named itself in 2009).

At first, the system was used by individual lenders as private clients of Fair Isaac. The first general purpose FICO score was developed in 1989. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac began using it in 1995.

To underline how important the FICO score has become in consumer lending, more than 10 BILLION scores are purchased every year by lenders – and more than 100 million Americans have access to their own FICO score.

While the exact formula for calculating a score has never been revealed, we do know it includes weighted consideration of payment history, debt burden, length of credit history, types of credit and recent credit searches.

Just think how much risk has been taken out of lending thanks to the FICO Score.

And consumers, thanks to an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act which passed in 2003, now get free access to their credit reports to gain an understanding of what they need to do to achieve a higher FICO Score to get cheaper loans.

It’s a win-win for both lenders and consumers.

And that’s exactly why we at Devana Solutions believe the clinical trials industry needs that FICO equivalent scorecard for sites and site networks.

The trial sites with good ‘credit’ will use the Devana Scorecard to prove it and win the business they deserve.

Trial sites whose ‘credit’ needs a little mending will know where they need to do to strengthen their game.

And the Sponsors and CROs will have a way of recruiting trial sites that greatly increases site performance predictability and improves clinical trial efficiency and effectiveness.

Another win-win!

About Devana Solutions, LLC

Devana Solutions®, LLC is a SaaS provider driven by a core belief that data transparency through technology is critical to selection of the top performing research sites to align with pharmaceutical Sponsors and CROs to reduce drug development costs and cure disease. Devana Solutions® offers three platforms to provide historical and real-time data capture, aggregation and display to drug development stakeholders: IGNITE for sites and PROPEL for networks,advanced operations and data analytics technology for sites and site networks and IQ for Sponsors and CROs.

Contact: Matt Smith, Executive Director, Strategic Partnerships (608) 285-2151