Everything about virtual engagement changed in early 2020 when it became clear that business travel and face-to-face meetings were on hold. Among the creative solutions and innovative ideas that emerged during the crisis was a total re-imagination of what it means to collaborate and a rapid embrace of technology to enable it.
How COVID challenged publication teams
Within life science companies, publication planning and development teams faced unique challenges earlier this year: the need to continue publishing amid disruption, the unavailability of many physician authors, and increasing demand for COVID-19 research. As teams acted quickly to collaborate via virtual means, publications teams were no exception.
Although video meetings became standard as soon as the pandemic began, it became clear that video wouldn’t be able to solve every virtual engagement need. This is especially true of publication development, where ongoing coordination among medical writers, physician authors, and internal pharmaceutical teams may unfold over weeks or months.
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Video conferences – even when augmented by email communication – can’t capture the precise feedback and thoughtful exchange of ideas required to produce an article for publication. While it may be helpful for authors to discuss objectives prior to a first draft, or discuss and agree on a final version, the logistics and scheduling required to get everyone in the same place at the same time hardly make periodic video meetings ideal or even practical for publication development. As the number of articles resulting from COVID-related clinical studies continued to multiply, publication teams looked for another solution.
Using asynchronous collaboration for publication development
Over-time or asynchronous, virtual engagement provides a publication development venue that’s both interactive and convenient for physician authors. Even when co-authors can’t physically meet, real-time co-authoring enables physicians to see comments and edits as soon as they are added. The ability to track changes, add comments, and respond to inquiries is familiar to most, and these features streamline and simplify the development process.
This type of collaboration improves over platforms that still rely on confusing email exchanges or endless back-and-forth across several drafts. Even as many physicians worldwide still face scheduling or workload challenges due to fluctuating rates of COVID-19 infections, working through an asynchronous platform allows publication development to continue.
Months into the pandemic, circumstances are still demanding and uncertain – working from home and collaborating remotely, taking care of family, looking after our health – and there’s a sense of urgency for the pharmaceutical industry to address a global health crisis. By using technology to streamline publication development, important research can reach health care professionals and the public in a more timely manner.
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