The Five Keys for Getting the Best Out of Your Medical Writing Vendor
We often focus on what vendors should do in order to consistently deliver high-quality documents on time. There are, however, many things that the client can do to enhance the chances of getting what they need, when they need it.
After many years as a medical writer on both sides (client and vendor), I have gathered together some thoughts on this, summarized below.
- Know Your Stuff (KYS) 1: Have someone on your team who is very knowledgeable about the science behind your product. This person should also be familiar with the most up-to-date literature on the topic. For an external medical writer, getting good guidance on the relevant literature, particularly a journal article collection from which to start, can save many hours of work. This translates into a streamlined budget and timelines.
- Know Your Stuff (KYS) 2: Understand your timelines. Distinguish between “real” deadlines and arbitrary ones. Consider that while the medical writing company can assign multiple writers across documents, and even divide the work on a single document amongst writers to allow concurrent work, your team will still need to review the documents within a short timeframe. Performing concurrent review across multiple documents is stressful and may lead to errors and inconsistencies.
- Know Your Stuff (KYS) 3: Know in advance your realistic in-house writing capabilities, taking into consideration the reviewing effort each potential in-house writer will be required to invest. A clear scope of work provided to the medical writing company in advance will allow adequate resource allocation and budget design.
- Know Your Stuff (KYS) 4: Understand your existing and expected results. The clearer you are in explaining the messages you wish to convey to your writers, the more likely it is that the early drafts of the documents will reflect them, without the need for multiple extended review and revision cycles.
- Know Your Stuff (KYS) 5: Identify who on your team is best suited to be the document’s owner. Conflicting opinions on various aspects of the content and process arise in every writing project. The medical writer should not be required to decide whose approach to follow. A document owner with the authority to make final decisions on all things document-related can provide clear instructions to the writers, saving time for all stakeholders.