When is the last time you looked through your reference library? If you do not have a formal process for managing your references, odds are that you will find a plethora of outdated and/or duplicative references. While it may not seem like a big deal at first glance, having high standards for the hygiene of your reference library can save you a lot of time and mitigate compliance liability by:
- Limiting discussion time on proper reference use – MLR discussion time is expensive and scarce. Between the Agency partners who are compensated hourly for their time and internal resources like Marketers, Coordinators, and MLR reviewers who are highly specialized, every minute saved during a review discussion impacts your bottom line. Not to mention, the more efficient your MLR team can be during their review meetings, the faster you can turn around content and mitigate costs around expedited printing, publishing, and distribution stemming from tight or missed approval deadlines. A healthy reference library will contribute to process efficiency by limiting the amount of MLR discussion around improper reference usage.
- Reducing compliance liability by ensuring outdated references are expired – The expiration process is an essential element of a successful reference management strategy. All references should be assigned an expiration date when they are submitted and approved. Reports should be run regularly (how often this happens will vary from one organization to the next, but weekly or monthly are the most common) to identify references that are approaching their expiration date so they can be re-approved or expired and replaced with an updated version. If done correctly, this will help prevent outdated references from being cited in your medical and promotional assets.
A cluttered reference library can reduce the efficiency of your MLR process. Having a formalized reference management strategy, and a resource who is responsible for overseeing the reference management process, can save you time, money, and mitigate potential compliance liability.