Using Technology for Smarter Speaker Programs Part 4 – Ensure Compliance

Continuing our blog series “Using Technology for Smarter Speaker Programs”, now we have part 4 – Ensure Speaker Program Compliance.

Part 1 – Budgeting

Part 2 – Selecting the Right Speaker

Part 3 – Meeting Execution

Over the past 20 years, the Pharma industry has driven a major shift to ensure that all marketing activities associated with promotion of drugs are tightly regulated. Not only does this include promotional materials but also all associated meetings, customer interactions and HCP/KOL transfers of value. So it’s critical that your campaign management platform allows you to ensure speaker program compliance.

The Evolution of Compliance
Gone are the days of a sales rep simply creating a meeting themselves, sending out invitations willy-nilly, and flying by the seat of their pants with contracts, attendance sheets and registration. Now there are ‘quality control’ and restrictions applied on HCP payments and venue selection, and requirements for administrative proof of contractual engagement and a ‘track and trace’ system. These mean that sales meetings can now be administratively demanding as well as risky business if all the i’s aren’t dotted and the t’s aren’t crossed. Fortunately, alongside the changing environment of Pharma self-regulation, technology has moved and developed too. Although corporate ownership of compliance procedures is still necessary, software systems now exist which can assist hugely in all the organization and compliance processes.

Cloud based software packages now have the capacity to streamline all the compliance processes from conception to completion and wrap-up of the meeting process. An example of this is the Pharmagin speaker meeting program platform, which can help to ensure that from both an internal and external adherence aspect that compliance is at the center of organizing these important commercial exercises. To consider all aspects sequentially will highlight the importance of compliance in tandem with how technology can now assist.

Compliance During Planning
As a first step, program budget allocation can be conducted through the software platform, ensuring that the meeting fits within permitted spending limits. Once the program is confirmed, speaker selection may also be managed directly by the program based on availability and previous engagement terms. Given the necessity of disclosing HCP earnings from each Pharma company, it is a distinct advantage to be able to observe current payment levels in real time. As each contracted speaker has a Honoraria payment limit set dependent on level of influence (local, national or international) this consideration is something which may dictate speaker choice as well as assist in determining the appropriate fee. Monitoring annual use of speakers and their Honoraria level will prevent the perception that a medical professional is being ‘bought’ to promote use of particular drugs within a therapy area.

Running concurrently with the logistical aspects of organizing a speaker program are all the administrative tasks such as invitations and contracts. Platforms like Pharmagin directly interface with medical approval systems, providing a seamless way to observe and action the document approvals process. This is fundamental to ensuring that documents are approved well ahead of schedule, allowing ample time for circulation of event details, delegate review and registration. It also ensures that HCP’s are compliant in their role as speakers and Chair people with regards to contracts. The same process may be extended to submission of slide decks for approval purposes, meaning the Rep can be sure that last minute compliance hiccups are avoided. Being able to observe directly the status of slide decks as they progress through levels of medical approval is a big step forwards… the black hole of medical approval levels should no longer need to exist, ensuring that meetings run seamlessly with no last-minute box ticking. These steps are critical to ensure speaker program compliance.

Compliance During the Event
One thing that the Sunshine Act and similar legislation dictate is that any delegate attending a Pharma sponsored event must openly disclose any Transfer of Value (ToV). Providing an on-line system of registration prior to the actual event makes this compliance much easier to achieve, as it means that delegate information can be captured by the software in advance of the event (or pulled from an integrated CRM). On arrival at the event the delegate signature can be captured electronically, ensuring that paper admin is reduced to a minimum while maximum security is maintained. Not only does the Pharmagin system enable signature capture as proof of attendance at a meeting it also enables disclaimers with regards to ToV to be acknowledged at the same time. With Pharmagin, any expenses, Honoraria and ToV are automatically captured, allocated to their respective HCP or Speaker, and transferred to integrated CRM or other systems to maintain reporting compliance.

Compliance in Reporting
Furthermore, due to the nature of the technology a steady internet connection is no longer a requirement – information can be stored locally in a tablet or smartphone then synchronized later without the risk of losing data. In years gone by the necessity to ensure that all paper based records were safely maintained and stored such that they could be scanned and saved at a later date meant that not only was there a risk of losing evidence of attendance, but also added a time wasting, arduous task. This potential cliff face for compliance can now potentially be completely negated by the cloud base technology and storage systems.

The Pharmagin cloud based speaker meeting platform has the capacity to ensure speaker program compliance can be easily adhered to and importantly creates the ability to store information permanently and open up visibility on compliance processes which has previously not been possible. Due to the pharma industry’s commitment to these policies, this is one of the most important aspects of promotional activity organization and is pivotal to ethical promotion of medicines. This facility fully interfaces with all other aspects of Speaker Program organization to supply a full service cutting edge technology offering. For a no obligation demo and quote please contact