4 Steps to Building Pharma Call Center Governance

Strong governance can help keep you and your center out of hot water!  ”That’s a good thing,” you say, “But what exactly is call center governance, and why do I need it in my pharmaceutical call center?” Let’s start with a definition that helped me, and one that you may find useful.

Governance is the agreed upon rules, processes, and authority for operations, oversight, and decision making in the organization.

It is a fairly short sentence that covers a lot of important territory.  Identifying authority in an organization identifies power. Power becomes action through assignment of responsibility and accountability. Authority can be solely owned or shared, and, in our view, authority in the pharma call center environment is best shared to create strong governance.

Each of the 4 types of pharmaceutical call centers (i.e., Medical Information, Access & Reimbursement, Therapy Adherence & Persistency, and Inside Sales) requires strong governance. No other organization in the corporation has such a high number of cross-functional inputs and regulations that guide its operations.


4 Steps to Establish Strong Governance

Building strong call center governance is really found in its definition. It's the responsibility of call center operations to seek out participation from other functional areas. There are 4 important steps we have found to be critical in establishing strong governance.


1. Build Relationships

Build relationships with expertise in key functional areas. For a pharma call center, those functional areas are Medical, IT, Safety, Quality, Marketing and Sales, HR, and Corporate Communications.

2. Formalize the Governance Process

This means documenting each function’s responsibility and accountability in a RACI chart. A strong governance will also document how often the governance team meets, who has authority for which decisions, and how disagreements will be handled. You don’t want to be deciding these important components after a crisis starts.

3. Create Metrics 

Create metrics based on what’s important to each functional area. For example, Safety might want a metric on turnaround time on AEs collected and transferred. All metrics can be summarized into a dashboard report.

4. Rotate Leadership

The governance process will be with your center forever. Even if you outsource your center, the governance process will remain. Leading a governance team, in addition to a full time day job, is time consuming. Sharing the leadership among the functional areas allows new leaders to bring in fresh ideas and renewed energy.


We would love to hear your thoughts on creating strong governance. If you would like to hear more about our experience, please contact us anytime.

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