Production processes that are out-of-date cause major issues for medical device companies. This is especially true when releasing products globally; given the additional complexity. It’s sometimes difficult to see the full impact, however the effect on the company is that products are delayed for release, the management and control is strained, and consistency of the information is lost. All of these ultimately impact the organization’s bottom line.
In this blog, we discuss the key specific challenges relative to content creation and translation, and their impact on medical device companies as it relates to productivity, costs and the profitability. We will also talk through what can be done to ensure a future improved state leveraging automation.
The time-to-market content challenge
In many medical device organizations content creation happens in silos. In these cases content is authored and translated several times, given that the various teams involved are not communicating with each other and geographically dispersed. In other situations, the content is cut and pasted from existing content which creates duplication and increases the risk for error over time. This is especially important in the medical device industry where content needs to be accurate and consistent across all content types due to regulatory compliance, and more importantly, to ensure the safety and well-being of the ultimate consumer.
Another issue is that the content is hard to find within the organization’s infrastructure. It typically sits on servers, in emails, or in an individual’s personal computer folders. Due to this situation, changes aren’t captured and updates are not communicated to every location. The future product releases are affected as there is no reuse of content, version control is not enforced, and the approval process is disconcerting.
All of this impacts the ability to get products and supporting content to market in a timely fashion – especially on a global scale. Every day that is lost has a financial impact to the medical device company.
The managing and controlling content challenge
It is hard to manage content production processes and to keep the content accurate when you are working with an outdated process. Additionally, with all of the different labeling requirements in markets globally, and the number of new products, and updates to products, this issue only grows more complex.
The risk of errors increases given the inability to manage the entire process in a centralized way. Because those developing the content lack clear visibility into what’s already been authored and translated, the opportunities to reuse approved content is missed which adds to the inaccuracy and reveals the lack of management and control over the process.
Additionally, a lack in standardization of, specifically, the translation process also causes issues in that information is not accurate in all countries due to versions being out of sync with each other. In one study by Forrester, it was found that 38% of the companies surveyed across all industries, lacked a translation process.
The content consistency challenge
In the medical device industry, product information has to be accurate and understandable in which ever language the product is sold. Whether it be a doctor, a care giver or the patient themselves who are using the product, their safety and well-being needs to be the top priority. If you are to have accuracy in your product content, you need consistency. It is imperative that there be only one version of the truth relative to product information.
Having consistent information becomes even more important when products are sold internationally. Inconsistencies in the process that cause inefficiencies in translation work also increases your company’s costs. Product content with inconsistent terminology also hurts the company’s brand and as the volume of products and content grows, quality and your brand reputation are even more vulnerable.
Given that content creation typically happens in a distributed way, your company is most likely struggling with consistency. The challenge is that groups and departments only see the content they create, and recreate. In this situation, even their own content changes are hard to track. Add to that, in many organizations there are multiple contributors involved in product content creation. Information is subject to discrepancies, which in turn perpetuates uncertainty and inefficiency, and therefore increases costs which impacts profitability.
Automation to the rescue
Having good people and processes in place are important to ensure success. However, this is only part of the equation. In addition to these imperative elements, it is also vital that medical device organizations leverage technology to facilitate the management and control of the operation in order to release products out to market, in multiple languages, in a cost effective, and efficient manner. By leveraging technology where appropriate, medical device companies can release products on time and reap the reward of an early time-to-market. Additionally, they can handle larger workloads as automation handles much of the tasks that previously were handled by human intervention.
Fortunately, there are technologies that exist to help medical device organizations to get there. An innovative solution that integrates technology and services to provide automation, flexibility, transparency and control for global content creation and management. The solution optimizes the production of modular, reusable content. The idea of writing once, locking it down and using it repeatedly so your organization can build content once, store it centrally, make it accessible to everyone who needs it, keep the content format neutral, and customize it for all appropriate endpoints using the same approved source information. Additionally leveraging an automated workflow allows for collaboration and facilitates consistent creation, translation, and publication of content across the organization.
This is the beginning of achieving a Global Content Operating Model (GCOM) which includes the technology and processes required to manage security, localization, compliance and workflows for local and culturally relevant digital experiences of your content. We will discuss this further in subsequent blogs.