Standard responses (SRs) are frequently used in the medical information industry to reply to questions and requests received from health care providers and other stakeholders within the medical community. SRs provide a quick means of sharing information for common requests and ensuring accurate information is provided regardless of which medical information professional handles the request.

Although different companies have different approaches to the provision and formatting of SRs,  there are best practices that can be followed throughout the industry. The goal is to ensure that information provided is fair, balanced, accurate, useful, and in accordance with all applicable legal, regulatory and company guidelines. It is helpful to have consistency in SRs within a company so that writers and reviewers know what information should always be included in these documents. For companies that have call centers, having a consistent format also helps call center personnel find requested information quickly.

To begin the process of streamlining the SR process, a logical starting point is with a style guide – these can be very broad and simple or exceptionally detailed and lengthy. For larger companies with many writers, a detailed guide is helpful for ensuring consistency within and across brands. For smaller companies with one or two writers, a basic guide may suffice. Style guides can encompass such items as general formatting of letters, referencing styles, types of clinical data to include and general grammatical guidelines.

Med Communications has extensive experience with the development, maintenance and updating of SRs. We have recently taken that experience and provided workshops to growing medical information departments that focus on building SRs and style guides to aid in the development of SRs.  These workshops are individualized according to the needs of the company, and can include topics such as determining what information to include in SRs, how to format SRs in the most useful manner for the end user(s), regulatory considerations, literature evaluation and summarization, and other topics as requested. For additional information about the kinds of workshops Med Communications provides, please contact Daniel Gharbawy.