The pharmaceutical industry is full of procedures.  This is why GMP is often jokingly re-named to Great Mountains of Paperwork.  Whilst the importance of having good quality procedures in place is vital I often see a focus on getting small problems with procedures corrected and then often missing the bigger issue – is the document any good?

What is important is that our procedures are accurate and correct.  However I see lots of examples where new versions of procedures are not authorised because of a minor typing error, or typo, such as the word “and” being spelt incorrectly for example.  Whilst it is important that procedures are accurate and easy to understand – we do sometimes get obsessed with having them word-perfect.  This may not be as important as you might think.  Feel free to read the text below – it is full of typos.

“Accofcrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a word are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae.”

Most of you will read this and it will make perfect sense.  So perhaps we shouldn’t worry too much about the odd typo in a document if it is not going to cause any problems.

A better area of focus for those reviewing and approving new procedures is to ensure that they actually reflect working practices and are going to be understood by the end-userNot consulting the end-user in the design and content of documents is one of the main reasons (that I see) as to why documents are either not used AND why so many documentation errors occur.