Generally acronyms can irritate or exasperate us. Just what does PRINCE, NGO or WYSIWYG stand for? But I just love WOW – Ways of Working. This was one of the gems Sarah Dunnett, Medical Affairs Manager, Baxter Healthcare, told us for her presentation on quality management in medical information. WOW is critical to quality and efficiency. If 6 team members are all doing the same job in quite different ways, it’s harder to control quality – in fact I don’t see how you can! Echoes of Six Sigma reverberate.

Sarah described how quality runs through the core of their medical information operations, focusing on documented procedures and training. They use a tiered approach, common to many companies, of SOPs, local protocols and guides to document and maintain quality MI services. She described their standard letter system from a quality context. I loved the idea that they tag them with a colour code to promote safe, efficient, confident use. Green means they are fully validated or have no technical content that will change, amber means the content is being developed so use with care and red is used for archived material that hasn’t been revalidated. A fourth colour is introduced: blue to indicate short term use e.g. for current topic

One other great tip – to space out updating standard letters and to make it efficient as possible, tackle the same topic for all the products at the same time. So if you need to update your “left out the fridge” FAQ, make it easy by doing it for all your products.

Oh, in case you were wondering:
PRINCE is not a diminutive rock star/has been but a project management tool PRojects IN Controlled Environments
NGO non-governmental organisation and
WYSIWYG – What You See Is What You Get – not the case if you use FrontPage or other dumb editors!