Best Practices to Improve your MLR Reviews in 2022

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Through interviewing and analyzing data from our clients, we have gathered insights and best practices that will help to make your MLR review process more efficient.

Below you will find a well-detailed checklist that will guide you through your MLR reviews. Following this checklist will result in a process that is productive, seamless, and successful.

MLR Review Checklist:

Tasks to consider during review preparation

Time

  • Have a clear understanding of timelines and communicate them clearly to your team. Knowing when the piece is needed will impact the timeline for submission and review deadlines.
  • Have automated reminders for the review team to help keep them on schedule.
  • Get the MLR team to agree to a standard and expedited review time. We found that 5 business days for a standard review and 2 for an expedited review are the average.

User Roles

  • Identify the content owner to the entire team. The content owner can be called the project manager, author, submitter, or lead. Team feedback is more efficient if everyone knows who to ask for clarification.
  • Ensure every person needed to review content is added to the team. The average MLR review team size consists of 5-7 reviewers and usually at least 1-2 observers (interested stakeholders whose can see the content and make and reply to comments but whose approval is not required. Typically, these are company project managers/coordinators, agency partners who are updating the content based on feedback and executive stakeholders).
  • Make sure the team is aware of everyone's roles and responsibilities so they can direct their comments and questions to the right person.
  • Have a system for resolving discussions and questions that is clear and transparent to the team. When a question is asked, or a point debated you need a way to indicate the final resolution to the team. On Papercurve, the content owner typically marks each comment thread as resolved when the questions have been answered to their satisfaction.
  • Encourage reviewers to be specific and identify the person they are asking the question or directing the comment to. Using the mentions feature is popular on Papercurve and can speed up response time dramatically. You can learn more about Mentions here.

Materials

  • Make sure you have the entire team viewing the most current version of the content under review and that any related or supporting materials (past versions with comments, copy decks, translations, regulatory letters, etc…) are easily accessible as attached files for context.
  • Have a system that supports all the different file formats you will work with (PDF, Word, Excel, Power Point, video, websites, images etc..)
  • Collect static PDFs for static content or digital content
  • If applicable, ensure you export PDF file(s) to include any hyperlinks
  • Ensure you collect and centralize all reference material related to your file(s)
  • Annotate and tag the file(s) to include sources to all claims

Tasks to consider at MLR Review Submission

  • Create tags for pieces to indicate brand/project, type of content (scientific paper, press release, website, detail aid, video etc…) and department.
  • ·Assign a unique ID code for submission. Where possible automate this step to ensure every piece of content has an ID code and that is it unique.
  • Submit all documents for approval, including tags and annotations for references within your submission.
  • If web/app content, provide navigation structure and screenshots of all states (even errors or success states).
  • If web/app content, provide draft/staging site(s) so reviewers can address interactivity and functionality.
  • If the content is a video, provide transcripts as attachments.
  • Convert content files (eg, PowerPoint or Word documents) to PDF for submission.
  • Submit all references.

Other considerations to keep top-of-mind during the process

  • Make sure to verify that no unauthorized changes were made to the final version.
  • Since the pandemic there has been a dramatic increase in asynchronous collaboration. Asynchronous collaboration is when your MLR team reviews content together in their own time, that is, not in real-time. To facilitate this, your system should allow users to see each other’s comments as well as who made them and when, all replies and whether any questions or requests were resolved. The status of each team members review (complete or pending) should also be visible to everyone in real time.
  • Once final approval is complete make sure the content gets distributed through channels with audit controls and analytics so you can track compliance and use of the content over time.
  • Make sure the Content Owner and others have timely notifications set up for content that needs to be reviewed and resubmitted to a regulatory body on an annual basis.

⭐ Bonus! Want to keep this checklist handy? Here’s a free downloadable version for your convenience.