Case Study – June 12, 2019

Streamlining Publications Development with Real-Time Co-Authoring

A leading drug company leveraged co-authoring technology to simplify and expedite the manuscript development process.

Historically, publications teams have not had many choices in how to approach manuscript development. Despite the technological leaps transforming many aspects of healthcare and drug development, there are few tech innovations that make publication authoring easier or more efficient. In this customer success story, learn how one client used the Within3 document co-authoring capability to shorten the time needed to develop a manuscript and improve the overall experience for authors.

Situation

A multibillion-dollar global pharmaceutical company became frustrated with the time-consuming and labor-intensive publication process and wanted to improve it. The primary goal was twofold: to finalize a manuscript as quickly as possible and improve the overall experience for authors.

Challenge

In looking over past experiences, the pharmaceutical company determined several challenges to this process as it is traditionally carried out:

  1. It can be difficult to command the attention of authors and maintain consistent engagement
  2. After a draft article is formulated, the current process results in several versions of the article being sent via unsecure methods all over the world
  3. Authors are in the dark about their co-authors’ viewpoints until a new iteration is produced, which compromises the quality of discussion and elongates the timeline
  4. The process of integrating feedback is time-consuming for the medical writer, and many iterations are required

Solution

The pharmaceutical company decided to use Within3’s document co-authoring platform, which provides a single, central document where any number of authors can add contributions and see each other’s input in real time, from any device, whenever it is convenient for them.

Using the document co-authoring functionality in tandem with the Within3 online discussion platform, the pharmaceutical company implemented a streamlined process to create a manuscript with five authors. In the article, authors reviewed trial data and treatment patterns associated with using a biologic drug to treat a chronic condition.

Outline Creation

Authors were able to view the document, add comments, and answer questions pertaining to specific portions of the outline. Example questions included general requests for more information, such as “Are there any key areas or issues that should be included that are not in the outline?” as well as specific questions relating to patient care, such as “What recommendations should be provided for how to counsel patients, including how to describe these side effects in an accurate and understandable way?”

Draft One Review

During this three-week session, authors had the opportunity to contribute to the first draft of the manuscript. The authors were able to view related resources, read the article, make comments or queries, and respond to questions. The medical writer used built-in prompting features such as daily digest emails and the “nudge” capability to encourage timely responses.

Draft Two Review and Finalized Manuscript

At the completion of the first session, the medical writer incorporated author contributions to produce a second draft. This iteration focused on the consensus section of the article and was available to the authors during a two-week review session for further refinement and final adjudication of any issues.

Results

This approach offered several notable improvements over the company’s previous process. Instead of dealing with multiple drafts through a disjointed email process, authors viewed and contributed to a single, authoritative draft secured in a secure system that prohibited unauthorized distribution. Comments and contributions were tracked in a familiar, collaborative interface that was already comfortable to most users.

Throughout the process, authors were consistently engaged through built-in tools like a daily digest email alerting them to new comments and responses, and the ability for the medical writer to “nudge” authors who needed to contribute or respond to a query. With less time spent creating revisions of the document, discussions and adjudication of issues within the publication were expedited.

The pharmaceutical company realized several valuable benefits by using the document co-authoring platform:

  1. Reduced the timeframe needed to create publication by several months
  2. Higher quality publication due to enhanced collaboration
  3. Improved author satisfaction

With the flexibility of the over-time discussion platform and document co-authoring capability, the pharmaceutical company completely transformed its manuscript development process.