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The Relationship Between Quality and Complaints in Healthcare

Now, there are more ways than ever for consumers to lodge dissatisfaction or complaints against the products they use in their healthcare – and in increasingly public ways.

By Donna Smith, Product Manager, and Sanmugam Aravinthan, Senior Director, IQVIA

Achieving quality assurance in life-sciences is a complex task made increasingly difficult as patient needs and regulations evolve. Couple that with a more tech savvy public, without the proper technology in place, quality assurance challenges are compounded by the need to collect, store, analyse and activate mass amounts of data. Electronic quality management software (eQMS) can be used to streamline these processes and drive continuous improvement.

Continuous improvement helps companies attract and retain customers. Dissatisfied customers are often more likely to share their experiences with others than if they were satisfied. Now, there are more ways than ever for consumers to lodge dissatisfaction or complaints against the products they use in their healthcare – and in increasingly public ways.

Social media provides a platform for consumers to share their experiences, grievances, or desires, creating yet more datasets companies can then use to improve product performance, roll out new services, or scale to meet changing market demands.

In this post we’ll look at the relationship between quality and complaints, and the role technology plays in both.

It All Starts with Quality

The benefits of eQMS go far beyond simply connecting and streamlining quality processes. eQMS can completely transform the way life sciences companies innovate. Inherent benefits include:

  • Better visibility into what’s working and what isn’t to enhance product quality, product safety and reduce risk.

  • Accelerated time to market, without sacrificing product quality, thanks to real-time information sharing between quality and regulatory.

  • Ability to scale outputs to meet changing market and regulatory demands.

  • Integrated and automated quality assurance solutions can also lead to cost savings.

Quality Concerns = Complaints

Without the use of eQMS it’s virtually impossible for life sciences companies to validate the quality of their products and services. When quality dips, complaints are likely to follow. Addressing complaints is a best practice for any industry, but in the life sciences industry, complaint management is required.

Once a manual, tedious and error-prone process, complaint management has been greatly improved by automation. Artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP) and optical character recognition (OCR) are modern techniques that can be used to monitor, extract, analyse and prioritise complaints, or Adverse Events (AEs).

IQVIA Vigilance Detect supports this process by rapidly identifying potential adverse events and product complaints within any source, regardless of volume or deadline. This automated process drives down costs by decreasing the number of safety staff required and more importantly it improves detection.

To put this in context, IQVIA Vigilance Detect analysed 7.7M social media posts where patients discussed products in 91 languages, from 38 countries and more than 300 data sources, identifying close to 44,000 AEs. These AEs provide valuable insight for life sciences companies so they can innovate and stay ahead of the competition.

The advantages of connecting eQMS complaints from a quality perspective and Vigilance Detect for safety compliance into a singular integrated solution come in several manners. Pharmaceutical firms will experience:

  • Shortening of issue cycle time by finding real issues sooner, resulting in faster time to action

  • Improving solution safety with early detection of issues so firms may pivot quickly to revise products as needed

  • Improving overall compliance of the solution across the regulatory, safety and quality areas of solution development

  • Giving marketing authorisation holders more qualitative information and perspectives via data monitoring

  • Improve overall market surveillance of products post-market launch

Better Together with Automation

Quality assurance and complaint management are just two areas where automation can be used to drive better results. When technology that addresses each concern is used in conjunction, quality products become even better.

Article originated in IQVIA blog

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