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4 Tips to Streamline Content Review and Approval

According to Veeva Pulse data, most pharma organizations take three weeks to deliver new content to market. At Amylyx, we’ve been focusing on preparing for our drug launch — and ensuring a strong foundation for content creation that will scale as the company grows has been one of my top priorities. Here are four tips to streamline your medical, legal, and regulatory (MLR) operations, based on our recent efforts to do this.

1. Set the right foundation to scale

The first step is to define what “good” looks like by getting cross-functional alignment on common goals, including a brand strategy, resource needs, and process. Challenge your cross-functional team by asking questions such as, “how long should this take?” or “who needs a seat at the table?” I recommend waiting to implement a platform solution until stakeholders fully understand their requirements to set the proper foundation for the team.

Gaining stakeholder alignment will also help streamline change management. It’s critical for stakeholders to know what they want and need and then build the right foundation based on your organization’s requirements. This approach worked very well for us and optimized our implementation with Veeva Vault PromoMats.

2. Leverage technology at the right time

Having a content management solution in place before launch is essential, but the exact timing of implementing a solution will depend on your organization. I look at two markers to determine the proper timing:

  1. When the review cycle becomes a pain point. If the MLR team is experiencing confusion, there are version control issues, or the process is taking too long, it’s probably time to explore technology solutions that can help.
  2. When bandwidth or resourcing issues surface. If the content owner is struggling to keep up with the org’s growing content volume, implementing technology to help automate processes will enable the team to move faster.

3. Introduce “MLR Step Zero” into your process

Content owners often feel that the end-to-end content process takes too long, from concept to approval. Typically, several precursory reviews need to happen before a document reaches the MLR committee, and there’s still the risk of additional cycles from MLR teams. MLR Step Zero takes place before MLR meetings so internal and agency stakeholders can agree on timelines, goals, and the overall process early on. Consider meeting stakeholders to review concepts before you start to build your promotional materials. This approach enables content owners to understand sensitivities upfront and have a better framework to drive the content process, ultimately reducing the number of reviews.

MLR Step Zero is all about streamlining the pre-MLR process. Typically, teams develop materials with multiple stakeholders’ input resulting in many reviews before it even gets to MLR. I always recommend leveraging concept reviews during MLR meetings, but you can use a similar process outside of MLR to gain other stakeholders’ buy-in. Consider setting up a meeting with all non-MLR stakeholders to ensure alignment on the process, timing, objectives, and “need to haves” versus “nice to haves.”

This approach also ensures a clear concept review for reviewers during MLR. When content owners and stakeholders align, it ultimately reduces the number of reviews and keeps the process running smoothly.

4. Be consistent with MLR review timelines

There’s more consistency and less frustration when stakeholders are clear about deadlines for content review. For example, we set the following schedule: content submission by Wednesday at 4 p.m., and reviewers’ comments are due by the following Wednesday at 4 p.m. Content owners have until 4 p.m. on Thursday (24 hours) to respond to comments in time for the weekly MLR meetings. By being consistent, stakeholders can work toward the same timeline and structure.

To reinforce these timelines, I established a weekly forecasting meeting with content owners and initiators (agency), which also serves as an open forum to address any timing or prioritization efforts needed. I scheduled this meeting at the submission deadline to accurately collect submissions for the following week’s review and the MLR agenda for the next day.

Overall, the key to streamlining the MLR process is establishing open communications, setting the right expectations for consistency, and building a solid foundation to enable teams.

Watch the on-demand emerging pharma leader spotlight session to learn more about how to streamline your MLR operations.

The elements presented here are the views and opinions of Jacci Lufkin and do not necessarily represent those of Amylyx.

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