When it comes to your promotional and medical information review processes: do you know if you’re using the right review format for your life science organization?

Depending on the age and stage of your organization, there are several ways to approach your content review process and set your teams up for success. It’s also worth noting that a content review process that you used while preparing for commercialization may no longer be the best fit if you know you have several products on market – it all depends on where you’re at and what your priorities are. 

Let’s break down the three types of ad/promo and medsci content reviews and the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision about what’s best for your organization now and in the future. 

Parallel Reviews

In a parallel review, all departments (marketing, medical, legal, regulatory) review content simultaneously and synchronously. 

adpromo parallel review flow chart

Pros of parallel reviews:

  • You can collect all feedback at once and understand what revisions are needed after one review cycle 
  • Understand how various departments respond to questions and comments during review
  • Enable teams to collaborate by resolving conflicts and engaging in dialogue to achieve consensus before the review is complete
  • Fast, efficient reviews since all teams can review at the same time

Cons of parallel reviews:  

  • Parallel review is not the optimal solution If certain teams or regulatory bodies need to review and approve content at a specific stage in the process
    • For example: your country’s regulatory body dictates that your legal team needs to review after all other departments have reviewed and revisions have been incorporated 

Parallel review is best for you if:
  • If you have a small review team
  • Want to address feedback all at once
  • Need to prioritize efficiency 

Sequential Reviews

In a sequential review, departments review one after the other in separate “steps.”

sequential review flow

Pros of sequential reviews:

  • Provides an opportunity for highly-focused reviews, as each step of the process enables you to get specific feedback from each department before moving on
  • Each department in the review process reviews a “clean” document with previous department feedback and revisions already incorporated

Cons of sequential reviews:

  • Creates back and forth between departments around feedback and open questions, which can be difficult to track if the content in review is complicated or complex
  • Can create higher number of circulations, as each step is essentially its own mini review cycle
  • Limited predictability for your staff on when their review is ready and due

Sequential review is best for you if: 
  • Your regulatory body mandates a defined step-by-step process
  • Your team wants focused phases within your review process

Hybrid Reviews

Hybrid reviews are (you guessed it!) a combination of parallel and sequential reviews. In a hybrid review, one department may start and/or end the review process, but a parallel review process occurs in-between. For many organizations, the agency of record submits the content for review. 

Pros of hybrid reviews:

  • Creates a quality control step at the end of the review process before the content is deemed final and approved for use 
  • Get the benefit of parallel review (such as the ability for teams to collaborate during review)

Cons of hybrid reviews:

  • Requires a clear, dictated process that everyone knows and understands (we have some guidance on review roles and responsibilities in this ebook)
  • Puts pressure on quality department to approve materials, which could be problematic if quality is tasked with approving several time-sensitive pieces of content

Hybrid review is best for you if:
  • You have quality controls that need to be in place
  • Primarily use agencies for content creation
  • Need a flexible review option 
  • If your agency of record is primarily submitting content for review

For all of these review processes remember: these review types are guidelines. Listen to your team to understand where your process is successful and where you’re bumping into challenges. If you’re using a MLR review system, leverage your Customer Success Manager to discuss these review options, figure out what’s best for you, and configure your system to align with your ideal process. If you don’t have that option available, we can help

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