Elsevier Slips into Something a Little More Customized
The publishing giant strives to provide more timely, relevant products. &012;In 1996, the system that housed the content for "Mosby's Drug Consult," the best-selling drug reference published by Elsevier's Health Sciences division, was cutting edge. But eight years is a long time in terms of technology, and it was clear to everyone who worked with the system that it was time for something new. Elsevier staff wanted to be able to slice and dice the content to create new products or to provide customized content on demand.
The editorial, production and business-development staff knew that drug information data was being authored, edited and formatted multiple times for multiple products, when, ideally, it could and should be shared among various groups that Elsevier serves. For starters, the content from "Mosby's Drug Consult" fed eight other Elsevier products. And, while pediatric nurses will want to understand different pharmacologic drug effects than what might be important for anesthesiologists, for example, both groups of clinicians will want to know basic information about the drug: generic name, brand names, pregnancy categories, FDA class schedule, etc.
Michael Wisniewski, Elsevier's director of licensing and pharmaceutical sales, explained the primary business driver for the system overhaul was that they needed content in a more suitable format for licensees—such as retail drug chains, insurance companies, HMOs, Healthcare Information System Vendors, etc.—and they needed to license updated content more frequently. Elsevier was looking for a more efficient, more user-friendly solution.
Devising a Plan
The biggest challenge Elsevier faced was planning, budgeting and actually implementing a new system while not disturbing the current system.
Like most internal IT staffs, Elsevier's IT and electronic production staff had many projects on their plates, but they wanted to address this new challenge in a time frame that satisfied the demands of the licensees. So, they decided to work together to outsource the project and take advantage of input from specialists.