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.
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:
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.
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!
Acrobat 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 . . .
If 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:
Check security on a PDF
Remove security in batch for many PDFs which use the same password.
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.
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 Acrobat.com 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.