Expedite the MLR Review Process—Engage Audiences with Your Content Faster

How are you approaching audience engagement at your organization? Perhaps you’re putting an emphasis on real-time conversations such as virtual events and livestreams. Or maybe you’re focused on building and moderating social platforms for patients and KOLs.

No matter your engagement strategy, content timeliness is key—especially when working with social media. Marketing teams need to be able to react quickly to needs in the field with a wide variety of content—whether that’s responding to a comment, answering a question, or posting key updates—to meet your engagement goals and maintain brand reputation.

As a pharma marketer, your ability to get new content to market depends on the speed and efficiency of your MLR review process. And while pharma organizations know the importance of MLR review, many still find the process to be slow and frustrating.

The MLR review process does not need to be marketing’s Achilles’ heel. Several strategies can help you to expedite the MLR review process and in turn, get engaging content to your audiences faster.

MLR Review Process Best Practices

When working to get any kind of content approved, here are five key strategies to keep in mind for a smoother and faster process.

1. Clearly define roles and responsibilities: MLR teams suffer when reviews spiral out of control and individuals are faced with significant rework. In order to streamline feedback, determine clear roles and responsibilities of your MLR team, outlining the who, what, and when. Clarity around roles and responsibilities establishes guardrails that focus your teams and departments on their areas of expertise. Once your team identifies clear roles and responsibilities, document them in your standard operating procedures (SOPs).

2. Clearly communicate due dates and review schedules: Never underestimate the power of good project plans. MLR collaboration drastically improves when your team is aware of the reviews in the pipeline and their deadlines. Transparency around schedules and levels of urgency enables your team to schedule work according to their individual schedules and opens up channels of communication around feasibility of workload.

Even more important? Use an urgent process only when absolutely necessary. Often, MLR teams are overwhelmed with the amount of “urgent” tasks, which creates friction and frustration. Remember: when everything is urgent, nothing is urgent. Work with your team to identify what constitutes an urgent request and how to re-prioritize work based on these types of requests.

3. Use review meeting time strategically: MLR meetings can be a huge time-waster if not used strategically. To keep meetings focused and efficient, develop and distribute agendas in advance to pre-align your group on your goals for the meeting and the specific pieces of content on the table for discussion.

Avoid using your meetings to go through all documents in review one by one; instead, focus on the complex or risky pieces that benefit most from conversations. Ask yourself: What do we need this full team to weigh in on?

4. Create a central repository for references and documents: Effective claims management is essential for a compliant MLR process, yet many MLR teams struggle with this aspect of the content creation and review processes. Streamline how you manage claims by establishing a centralized location or library for all of your approved reference claims and claims language. Identify a person within your MLR team to own the claims library and make updates as they become available.

Tracking and maintaining individual files and documents can also be an unwieldy aspect of the MLR process. Identify a central location, either within or outside of any software you’re using, where you keep final versions of your documents. By establishing one location, your sales and marketing teams always know where to go for approved materials and you can stop wasting time trying to answer the question: “Is this the approved version?”

5. Simplify your review process for small changes: Depending on how your MLR team operates, small changes to content can be crippling to your team’s efficiency and create severe bottlenecks within your organization. Optimize how you work by setting up standards around what types of changes require an entire re-review, and which changes are small enough to go through an expedited re-review process. Focus your total review efforts on bigger or conceptual pieces that require the full team’s input.

MLR Review Process Best Practices for Social Media Content

If you’re focused on social media and how to get posts approved as fast as possible, then consider these three strategies.

1. Set up a social media-specific SOP: Depending on how active your organization is on social media and which platforms you’re using, you may find it helpful to develop an SOP specifically for social media. Social-specific rules, processes, and information can all be captured within this document. For example, who is responsible for posting on social media? Who is responsible for moderating or responding to comments? Outlining this information eliminates guesswork around social media management and ensures your team is on the same page.

2. Set up a specific review process for social content: In addition to simplifying the review process for small changes, you may also find it helpful to have a specific review process to approve social content. Your social media-specific process may differ in the number of review steps or number of reviewers required to approve social content (i.e., only have regulatory and medical review and approve). If you develop a social-specific review process, be sure to document and share how it differs from your other processes with the relevant teams.

3. Have approved social content on-hand: In today’s social world, timing matters. Build a library of pre-approved social content that you can use to respond to comments or common questions on your social platforms. With approved content on hand, your teams will be able to react quickly to needs in the field while maintaining compliance.

As With Any Type of Process Improvement, Change Takes Time

As you explore which of these best practices you want to incorporate into your organization’s processes, remember that change takes time. Try to avoid implementing several of these best practices at once. Instead, consider a phased approach so your team has time to acclimate and discuss what’s working and what’s not. Small changes will add up over time and before you know it, you’ll have a fast, efficient review process that supports all of your audience engagement tactics.


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