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    Looking to improve MLR approval time with software? 18 questions to consider

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    Life sciences is a fast-growing, innovative industry focused on constantly delivering new therapies and devices based on cutting-edge research. To promote these products and establish your brand in a competition-packed market, you need to get advertising and promotional content to your sales team and key audiences quickly. In an industry where non-compliant messaging can result in business-cripping fines or time-intensive audits, you can’t have content going public that has not undergone proper review. You need an MLR approval process that keeps up with the speed of the sales cycle–along with the right tech solution to enable efficiency within your promotional review team.  

    If you already have a manual promotional review process in place that works, you may be asking yourself if you really need a new solution. However, manual and makeshift solutions can’t keep up with the speed of the sales cycle and are frustrating for review teams. Even generic workflow systems that were effective for document routing and review a decade ago can leave you open to lagging processes, loss of productivity, and compliance oversights.

    Whether you’re noticing an old MLR system breaking down or are an emerging company looking for the most effective solution on the market, it makes sense that life sciences companies want to proceed cautiously. There are a number of solution providers out there touting the ability to streamline MLR review. The search often entails wading through an array of websites and promises in order to determine what is going to be the best for your business. 

    We’re here to help. As you’re evaluating options, consider the following questions, broken out by feature category. These questions will guide you toward investing in a solution that adds value to your business and uncomplicates compliance.  

    pieces to consider when evaluating MLR software

    Workflows & Collaboration

    Workflow optimization is one of the most fundamental parts of a contemporary MLR solution. It distinguishes outdated solutions from today’s smart software which actively removes hurdles and speeds up your MLR approval process. When looking at a potential MLR solution, ask yourself about the following workflow and collaboration-related features:

    • Are you able to configure multiple workflows with varying roles, responsibilities, and permissions?
    • Are you able to reconfigure workflows as requirements evolve or your business changes?
    • Does the solution support multiple review types, such as promotional, medical, reference, etc.?
    • Does the solution have the ability to set due dates for workflows based on project properties and requirements?
    • Does the solution have the ability to annotate on a document and link to supporting materials?
    • Does the solution enable side by side version comparison with previous versions of a document?
    • Does the solution allow you to review and annotate directly on videos and websites in their native formats?


    For life sciences, compliance features are a necessity. Without specific compliance features, you’re not only putting your organization at risk but you’re also taking on the giant burden to fully validate generic tools for adherence to regulatory requirements and intended use. To evaluate the strength of a solution’s compliance measures, ask the following questions:

    • Does the solution allow the capture of electronic signatures for approvals in compliance with FDA 21 CFR Part 11?
    • Are all system and user actions captured in an audit trail that records information such as what information was changed and who changed the information?
    • Does the system suggest references for you based on previous reference usage?
    • Is the solution validated and come with a prepared validation package from the solution provider?


    Software packages change, tech stacks evolve, and being able to make multiple solutions work together to meet your needs will always be a priority. Remember to ask: 

    • Does the solution come with an API that connects to existing downstream systems in use?

    Reporting & Analytics

    Metrics are the foundation of process improvement. An MLR solution that lets you understand process metrics like review times and agency performance gives you meaningful insights into where you need to focus improvement efforts. When evaluating reporting functionality, ask: 

    • Does the solution provide out of the box metrics and reports?
    • Are the reports downloadable/exportable?

    Customer Service & Support

    MLR solutions are not “set and forget” software packages. Support at every step of the implementation and throughout the ongoing business relationship are critical to getting value out of your tool. As your business changes, so should your MLR approval solution to accommodate. When looking at support offerings, ask: 

    • Are all implementations and configurations handled by the solution provider?
    • Do customers get their own dedicated Customer Success Manager?
    • Is 24/7 end user support available?

    Get even more expert guidance on selecting an MLR tool 
    The right MLR solution is the key to turning what can be a cumbersome and confusing process into a fine-tuned, focused fixture of your operations. In order to help you gather all the information you need while considering this investment, download our robust promotional review system evaluation template. The template includes a robust list of criteria to evaluate your MLR solution options. Download the template and start evaluating today.


    At Vodori, we make it easy for life science companies to move fast–because healthcare can’t wait. We empower companies to move quickly with cloud software that is innovative, life-science focused, and delivered with an exceptional customer experience.

    Annalise Ludtke

    Senior Manager, Marketing Communications at Vodori

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