Key Enhancements in Acrobat XI for the Bio-Pharma Market

Acrobat XI (Acrobat 11) is the latest version of Acrobat. With each new release, Adobe makes improvements to the product.

You can read about the general improvements in the product on the Acrobat XI product page.

In this article, I’ll discuss a few features which I think are particularly applicable to bio-pharma and life sciences.

Read on for more info.

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Using Acrobat Shared Review for Approval Workflows – Part 2

In my last post, Using Acrobat Shared Review for Approval Workflows – Part 1, I provided some tips on how to sell the process internally.

The solution scenario is as follows:

  • You or an outside agency have revised a document
  • You need to send it to stakeholders such as legal,marketing, R&d and other participants for approval of the changes
  • After review, you may have further changes to the document if the changes you proposed were not approved

In this article, I’ll discuss how to mark up a document with the changes requiring approval.

In future articles, I’ll cover how to initiate the Shared Review, gather approvals, and roll-up feedback.

More, after the break . . .

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Using Acrobat Shared Review for Approval Workflows – Part 1

Life Sciences firms often have burdensome requirments for the approval of even the simplest of marketing materials due to the highly regulated nature of the bio-pharma industry.

It is not uncommon for each new marketing asset to require an extensive review from representatives from the line of business, technical experts, legal, marketing and other stakeholders.

Adobe offers tools in its LiveCycle family of products such as the LiveCycle Managed Review and Approval Accelerator, that help automate, track and move docments through workflow processes.

A server solution is most effective when there are a large number of users who need to be part of the approval process. Of course, to deliver this kind of solution, you need budget and the full support of IT, as well as the time and resources to implement it.

If you are limited in funds and need a solution right away, using a desktop tool like Acrobat can be a great alternative for document review which let’s you get up and running fast with virtually no IT involvement.

Acrobat Shared Review

Acrobat’s Shared Review feature allows multiple people, in real time, to add notes and mark-ups to documents, and to approve or reject suggested changes.

In order for multiple users to interact, a server is needed to act as repository for the comments. Acrobat synchronizes comments between all the users in the review. You can use any network folder that the reviewers can read and write to, or a SharePoint workspace which provides reviewers access.

To extend review to users outside the firewall, your IT organization could set up SharePoint as an extranet providing log-ins for partners.

Each user can choose when they want to publish and receive comments. In this simplified animation below, an Acrobat Pro user is publishing a comment and several Adobe Reader users are receiving the comments.

Note: I only show the syncing as one-way in the animation, but in fact all users can sync their comments with others on the team.

Read on to find out more about Shared Review.

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Creating Linked PDFs from a set of Word Files

Life Sciences organizations often have voluminous numbers of reports and corresponding reference material that need to be prepared for regulatory filings.

Many organizations generate Word and PDF documents which need to be converted in a cross-linked set of documents for submission or for internal use.

Using Microsoft Word, you can create a hyperlink to PDF document easily. Simply select some text in your Word document, right-click and choose hyperlink, then point to a PDF:

Picture of how to link to a PDF document in Word

While it is easy to link to a PDF, that doesnt’ always suit the needs of a busy reglatory professional.

When there are a number of documents which are rapidly changing during the authoring cycle, it can be extremely handy to link to sub-documents (Word files) to allow for quick editing and changes.

That was probably the reason I received the following enquiry via email regarding link capabilities of Acrobat:

If I have several word documents in a directory and the one document is the main Table of contents, I can create links from it to the others where clicking on the link will open the corresponding Word document. When I convert these documents to PDF, the links are broken. Is there a way around this?

Unfortunately, neither Word or the PDF Maker plug-in for Acrobat offer this functionality. When converted to PDF, links in the Word file are maintained to the original source DOC file. In other words, a link to a Word file (in Word) will be a link to a Word file when converted to PDF.

However, there are some workflow tips and workarounds you can use to work around this.
Read on!

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Healthcare as easy as Craigslist?

Fast Company is a business and technology online and traditional magazine which always seems to have interesting articles.

Recently, Fast Company posted this article:

Can Health Care 2.0 Be as Easy as Craigslist? Craig Thinks So

The subject of the article was Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark who was interviewed about the work he is doing with the Department of Veteran Affairs to better utilize technology for healthcare.

The article notes that Adobe won the VA’s first Blue Button Developer Challenge for the creation of an interactive platform for medical records. An image of the Adobe application is included in the article.

One thing I found interesting was to learn about how the VA is going about bringing their technology up to date:

 . . . the VA will open source its new health care ecosystem, permitting a community of developers to
co-construct the new database and allow outside institutions to modify
the codebase for their own systems. The vision is a system that permits
real-time communication between patients and doctors and isn’t held
hostage by either a painfully slow government entity or a single,
inflexible corporate partner. For developers, this means a whole new
sub-industry of opportunity.

Now, that’s forward thinking for a government agency!

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Removing Security from PDFs: Individually and in Batch

PDF Lock IconAcrobat files may be secured using passwords, digital certificates or using rights management (provided by Adobe’s LiveCycle Rights Management server).


PDF documents circulated between sponsors, partners and clinical staff are often secured to prevent changes and leakage of information.


PDFs which are secured cannot be changed. That means it is not possible to add links, bookmarks or combine pages from these files as part of your regular document operations. That certainly can pose a problem for regulatory professionals who need full access to these documents to prepare submissions.


Because life science firms frequently secure PDFs, it was not too surprising when I received a message last week from a large bio-pharma company which posed this question:


Is there a way to batch process the removal of a password from multiple PDFs?

Thee same password is used on multiple files . . .


Secure buttonIf you know the password for a PDF, you can remove security from the document and make it available for editing. Just click the Secure button, then choose Remove Security:


You’ll be asked to enter your password, click OK, then save the document.


While not difficult, that process is cumbersome when you have many documents— perhaps hundreds— which need processing.


Fortunately, if you have Acrobat Pro, you can remove security from documents in batch!

In this article, I’ll discuss how to:

  1. Check security on a PDF
  2. Remove security in batch for many PDFs which use the same password.


Read on to learn more.

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Can new versions of Acrobat create a PDF 1.4 File for FDA Submissions?

Every so often I will hear from a bio-pharma customer who will tell me something similar to this:

We can’t move to a newer version of Acrobat because we have to make PDF 1.4 files for agency submissions.

Put succinctly— that just isn’t true.

The PDF Version is not the same as the version of Acrobat.

Acrobat XI (and previous versions) can easily save back to previous versions.

In fact, you can set Acrobat to create files in the version you want all the time, by adjusting a few simple settings.

I’ve previously written about two related topics:

In this article, I will discuss how to:

  1. Saving and Loading PDF Settings
    1. Save out an older PDF setting to move to a new system
    2. Load a PDF setting into Acrobat
  2. Setting the default PDF Setting for:
    1. PDF Print Driver
    2. Word, Excel and PowerPoint
    3. Creating PDF from the desktop, in batch or when combining documents
  3. Tips for Setting Defaults when deploying Acrobat

Read on to learn more.

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Slides for 1/22/2010 Acrobat for Life Sciences eSeminar

Did you attend my January 22, 2010 Life Science eSeminar?

Here are the slides I promised to share.


Options for Getting the Slides

You can get the slide two ways:

  1. From my account
    Preferred, since there is much greater bandwidth.
  2. Directly from this blog Method


Direct Download

Acrobat_Life_Science_Seminar_Blog (PDF)

Right-click and choose Save As or Save Target or just click the link to open the PDF in a browser window.



The narrative for the slides may be found in a sticky note on each page.

Reviewing and Approving Documents

Acrobat has long had review tools and many life science companies use them.


However, when I talk to most firms in bio-pharma, I find that they are not always using the tools to best advantage. And, of course, I still see lots of paper-based review workflows.


Acrobat’s Shared Review capability allows multiple people, in real time, to review a document corroboratively. That can help accelerate review and help you meet deadlines.


Below is a screen shot of a product label that is part of a Shared Review.



How does Shared Review Work?

So, you may be wondering . . . how does it work and what benefits does it offer me?


I’ve put together an 11-minute, narrated slide deck to help explain how it works.


I’ve titled it "Enterprise Collaboration with Adobe Acrobat 9". In the presentation, I cover the findings from a recent Forrester Consulting study on collaboration, and then show you how to collaborate better using Acrobat.


Read on to get it.

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Materials for PDF Document Review:Ad Hoc or Audited Options for Life Sciences

My colleagues Mark Middleton, Ed Chase and I offered an eSeminar today on collaborative review tools.
The eSeminar featured solutions for ad hoc review using Acrobat and also audited, workflow-based review using the Adobe eSubmissions Solutions Accelerator.
Here, you can view the slides from today’s session.
I’ve stored these on my account so you can view a Flash preview or download the PDF which includes speaker notes.
Read the rest of the entry to get to the downloadable slides.

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