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    5 problems with your PRC or medsci review process and how to fix them

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    We’ve heard it before: You have your shiny new PRC or medsci review software, but you’re still running into problems that result in inefficient workflows and friction among teams. What’s going on, and what can your team do to improve?

    Through conversations with current and prospective customers, product design panel members and conference attendees, we’ve heard a ton of review process pain points. We’ve also had the privilege of helping companies solve them. Here are a few common problems we’ve heard and ways you can work to resolve them.

    Conflicting reviewer feedback stalls the process

    You know that reviewer that provides subjective feedback on imagery choices? What should initiators do with those comments? In many cases, feedback that steps outside of a reviewer’s responsibilities slows progress and can leave jobs in an awkward state, where no one is sure how to resolve the issues.  

    What you can do:

    • Just because it’s easy to leave feedback doesn’t mean everyone should. Ensure that your business policy sets boundaries on each reviewer’s scope.
    • Create guidelines for how reviewers should leave their feedback. One of our customers requires that each comment starts with “required” or “suggested” to help initiators manage revisions.
    • Use review meetings to discuss comments. Decide which changes are mandatory and which ones are suggestions that can be resolved without revisions.

     Your process needs updates

    We see this problem frequently when companies move from paper to digital without taking advantage of software benefits such as parallel review. Some companies also see process issues but aren’t sure how to resolve them. However, process optimization can improve content quality, help team collaboration, and even reduce costs.

    What you can do:

    • Use reports, like Pepper Flow’s Insights, to figure out where the process isn’t working. Are there bottlenecks? Are some job types taking longer than others? Talk to your teams to understand where they see the need for improvement. Then work to identify changes, including SOP updates.
    • Simplify. One of our customers had a review process that was too onerous for small changes like typos, so team members would sometimes let those issues slide. After reassessing their process, they implemented a typo revision job to make small updates easier.
    • Streamline the review and storage of additional resources. Systems like Pepper Flow can be used for more than just promotional materials and references. Several customers use the system to accommodate other types of documents, including IFUs, medical communications, training materials and more.

    “Urgent” jobs are not always urgent

    During implementation, customers often request an urgent job type in their promotional review system. However, for a variety of reasons, teams use those jobs more frequently than expected, de-emphasizing the importance of the “urgent” designation.

    What you can do:

    • Check to see how urgent jobs are being used. How often are users requesting urgent jobs? Are those jobs truly urgent, or could teams plan their review needs better?
    • Update your configuration to include help text explaining when the feature should be used. A required text box, where people justify their decision, can also be a small deterrent.
    • Consider removing the option altogether. One company that presented at a recent conference found so many people were abusing urgent jobs, they removed them. Now, when something is truly urgent, it requires working with a coordinator.

    You’re struggling with team management

    Do you know when your reviewers are going on vacation? Probably not, which means you may be assigning them work they’re not around to complete.

    What you can do:

    • Use your software to keep jobs on track. In Pepper Flow, the delegation feature allows a reviewer to complete work on a team member’s behalf.
    • Assign tasks to an entire group. In this process, the group can decide among themselves who will review what. While it does require more team communication, it’s also more flexible. If one team is overloaded, the team can plan to assign work to other qualified team members.

    You’re not using the right tool

    Most people know that paper systems can be a hassle, but the same can be said for software that’s not geared to promotional review. Many quality management systems or homegrown solutions lead to issues like slow review cycles and poor usability.

    What you can do:

    • Research. What do promotional and medical information review tools offer that you’re missing out on?
    • Consider cost. You may think you’re saving money by utilizing one system for two things, but you could be losing out in other places. For example, you may see team members using outside tools to complete time-consuming tasks not covered by your system.
    • Get ready to make your case. Talk to your system owner and other users to understand all issues and find a better approach.

    Take the next step

    Do any of these issues sound familiar? What other problems are you running into with your process? Tell us at and help us find innovative ways to make PRC or medsci review nightmares a thing of the past.

    Annalise Ludtke

    Senior Manager, Marketing Communications at Vodori

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