From the Desk of the President
Past, Present and Future

Dear OBA Clients,

I wanted to take some time to discuss a few things with you, our clients, on OBA’s current status, and future growth.

First of all, I am excited to announce that our growth potential here at OBA has never been better. We are currently projecting to have our greatest year in our illustrious history, as well as unprecedented growth for us as a company, over the next couple of years.

We have had a fantastic couple of decades in our niche market. For that, we have you to thank for our growth, sustainability, and scalability. However, you alone cannot drive the entirety of our success. It falls on us - on me, to make the right business decisions in order to be able to support our wonderful clients in an ever-changing business and technological landscape.

We have made a decision to move away from certain inefficiencies that were holding us back as an organization. These inefficiencies were not conducive to our vision for future growth, technology improvements, and overall quality of service to our most important priority – our customers. As a corollary, over the past 6 months, these moves have resulted in some turnover at OBA. This turnover is an expected outcome and a small price to pay for improved quality, improved expertise, improved customer service, and improved partnerships with our customers and our contacts within our industry.

Within the past 6 months, we have increased our efficiency within our client services group. Our support and client services teams have been working at 100% usage and are poised to grow by 30% this year due to demand in both our clients’ need for services, and with new training technology initiatives. I am pleased to announce that Debby Gross has joined the OBA team as a client training specialist. Debbie has over 15 years of Academic and industry training and comes to us with degrees from both MIT and the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business.

Also, the strategic move of John Ferguson to our Client Services Manager role has been met with great success with improvements in managerial culture, as well as an overall Medical Information Business process knowledge that goes far beyond general IRMS support. Incidentally John recently received his MBA from DePaul here in Chicago. Additionally, Arvind Ramnath, Matt Carr, and Joe Jalowiec have become the installation and configuration team under John and have already improved the way IRMS is installed and implemented.

Additionally, I am extremely pleased to announce that we are in the process of vastly improving our validation and QA groups. We have been recruiting top talent over the past few months and will be filling our QA and Validation needs with experts within the industry that will truly make our Validation and QA documentation synonymous with the stellar quality that you receive from OBA on a daily basis. Therefore I am pleased to announce that Ismail Siddiqui has joined the OBA team as Client Validation Manager effective immediately. Ismail is a seasoned expert with validation practices in Big Pharma with over 10 years of Validation and QA experience.

All business must embrace the changing landscape in any industry. As do we at OBA. We are ready for the future and are ready to put our clients at the forefront.

Our corporate vision is clear: To continue to be THE GLOBAL leader in medical information solutions by leveraging over a century of combined Medical information knowledge, as well as the best development and services talent in this industry. OBA will provide unparalleled quality of product and services to our clients and all of Medical information for decades to come!

I want to thank you all for being a part of the OBA family. We strive to provide you with best of breed product, services, and relationships through our consultative approach to every aspect of what we do. From Product requirements, to relationship and project management, all of our teams love what they do and LOVE to make sure that you are happy. I am extremely excited for the future of OBA, and am looking forward an ever-improving and prosperous relationship with you all.


Dennis Oles
President & CEO

5 IRMS Features That You Didn't Know About... But Probably Should

IRMS is an application that is filled with time saving efficiency features. And in the end, isn’t that what everyone is looking for – an application that makes our jobs easier? Unfortunately, defined processes and procedures (and general malaise) tend to get in the way of finding ways to do things better.

To that end, below are five features that IRMS currently offers that will increase your productivity (and make you a master of IRMS).

  • Combined Letter Method
  • Content Management Workflow
  • Question Owner
  • eFax Integration
  • MICI

1. Combined Letter Method

This is one that has been covered in-depth in these pages before, but it is something that everyone should be using. Rather than handing off emailed response letters to Outlook, IRMS instead opens the email within the IRMS application. This allows for more control over the letter’s content and the entire message is logged in IRMS (rather than the Sent Items of Outlook). System→Division Parameters→Other Tab→EmailLetterMethod = Combined

2. Content Management Workflow

It is a safe bet that almost every organization in the Medical Information arena is currently doing an approval process on documents, no matter how informal. It is also a pretty safe bet that most people are not capturing the details of this review process. Workflow approval history is a funny thing – like a toilet plunger, it isn’t really something that most people care or think about until it is needed (and you realize that you don’t have one!).

Most avoid workflow because of the effort that is involved in creating the templates, the thinking being that the time spent in creating the template isn’t worth the historical records that it provides. Instead of completing a template for every possible workflow scenario, start small. Create a two-step workflow template that allows for the attaching of email correspondences that contain the document’s feedback. Once your users become comfortable using the application, start to expand the templates using more of the system’s capabilities. Before you know it, you will wonder how you ever functioned without the documentation that CM Workflow provides. Create a workflow template in CM by selecting the desired folder, click Folder Settings then Workflow Settings.

3. Question Owner

In most scenarios, a case created in IRMS will only have one question that is processed by a single user. And in order to run metrics as to who did what, an admin will query the RefTo field on the case. But RefTo will only indicate the last owner of the case. How do you track work done on multiple questions by multiple people?

Question Owner allows users to tag the question(s) that she was responsible for, thereby giving an accurate count of the work done. Query Question Owners with Completed Question timestamps to determine how long it is taking to complete individual questions and get a more accurate count of the work that is being done. (System→Division Parameters→Case Entry/Resp Letters→Optional Fields)

4. eFax Integration

First, the good news. Most people born this side of the good ol’ days don’t require documents to be faxed to them anymore. The bad news is that those people who do want a fax will accept nothing less short of the return of the passenger pigeon. Faxing from IRMS can be a challenge when attempting to integrate a fax server, such as RightFax, into your processes; and this is dependent on if your organization even has a fax server.

For those using eFax already, add one more account to the mix and give it to IRMS to use. No more trips to the one fax machine in the office that never seems to work quite right. Register your IRMS from address on your eFax account and set up the email mask in your division parameters and you too will soon be reaching out to everyone retro – 80’s style. (System→Division Parameters→Email/PDF/Fax→Outbound Address Mask)


It is 12 o’clock: are you reporting your article usage to the Copyright Clearance Center? Are you doing it manually? Did you know that it can be done via IRMS’s MICI module that comes standard with each install? If you answered No to that last question, then maybe MICI is for you.

Tag all copyrighted materials in Content Management or Document Management and IRMS will log their usage. Then when you are ready to pay that bill, simply launch MICI, confirm your usage and submit the tally to the CCC via your account. If it sounds easy, it is. Once the connections are set up, billing accounts are created, just sit back and wait until it is time to submit. (Documents→MICI Copyright Submission)

  • Pharmacyclics
    About Pharmacyclics:
    At Pharmacyclics, we intend to create medicines that improve both the quality and duration of patient lives. This requires hard work, sacrifice, money, organization, communication, affinity for what we do and a willingness to be of service to others. We measure our progress by the number of patients benefitting from our medicines.
  • Agility Clinical
    About Agility Clinical:
    Agility Clinical is a unique consulting and contract research organization dedicated to working with virtual, small biopharma and device companies with a lean infrastructure. We put our expertise and passion to work helping small companies – particularly those involved with orphan drug development – to move forward and bring important new treatment to patients.
  • bioCSL
    About bioCSL
    bioCSL, formerly CSL Biotherapies, manufactures and in-licenses, markets and distributes vaccines with particular focus on vaccines for prevention and treatment of serious disease. We operate one of the world’s largest influenza vaccines manufacturing facilities and supply seasonal influenza vaccines to Australia and global markets. In addition, we in-license a range of pharmaceutical products from our partner companies to ensure a comprehensive rang of products are available to meet the needs of many Americans.
  • Intercept
    About Intercept Pharmaceuticals
    Intercept is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics to treat chronic liver diseases utilizing our proprietary bile acid chemistry. Our product candidates have the potential to treat orphan and more prevalent diseases for which there currently are limited therapeutic solutions.
  • Leo Pharma Global
    About Leo Pharma:
    LEO Pharma is a leading global pharma company specializing in dermatology and critical care. For more than a century, our products have improved millions of people's lives around the world. Headquartered in Denmark, we have employees in 61 countries and our products are sold in more than 100 countries. To realize our vision of becoming the world’s leading specialty pharma company within our focus areas, we are expanding into new regions and markets, reaching more patients and societies with competitive drugs and therapies that address unmet medical needs.

Upcoming Events

  • March 16 - 18

    DIA Medical & Scientific Communications Annual Forum

    As usual, we will have a team onhand to show you the latest and greatest IRMS innovations. Be on the lookout for an invitation to our annual Hospitality Reception!

  • April 13 - 15

    DIA 27th Annula EuroMeeting

    Paris, France

  • June 15 - 19

    DIA 51st Annual Meeting

    Washington, DC

How Reporting Works

The report tool tracks the amount of records created in IRMS which includes cases, letters, responses, and questions. Users can take this aggregate information and organize (or “break it down”) in many ways. In the example below, the report represents a count of question records. It is organized initially by products and then by topic.

The reporting module can subdivide further information by using multiple levels. The example below illustrates the types of responses provided for each question. Notice that it is broken down by product, topic, and, finally, by resolution.

For some charts, users can break down information up to six levels.


For visual representation, various types of graphs are available. This is an excellent tool to illustrate trends.

Table Listing Reports

Table listings are ready-made reports that require very little configuration. They offer various types of reports ranging from Quality Assurance to Documents Usage. Many of the popular reports used in this tool revolve around documents used over a period of time, which is illustrated below.