The last year has seen an advanced degree of change in the point of care industry, as networks and marketers have had to pivot to virtual channels during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the wake of those shifts, the Point of Care Communication Council (PoC3), the industry’s advocacy group, has released updated guidance around auditing practices and transparency.

The updated guidance includes information around standardized protocols and terminology designed to streamline the audit process. It aims to avoid in-person audits at healthcare facilities during the pandemic, offering acceptable solutions that eschew in-field verification.

Specifically, the guidelines call for expanded network audits that cover internal controls and procedures; a required volume of campaign audits to be based on annual campaign volume; and an increase in the frequency of campaign audits, which should now occur every six months. An exception provision was added for “circumstances outside of the POC media company’s control” as part of the baseline for compliance.

“The committee spent the past 12 months reviewing the effectiveness and impact of the original guidance on the point-of-care environment and updated the requirements to meet the current opportunities and challenges,” said Dean Tassone, SVP, Health Monitor Network and lead for PoC3’s Verification and Validation Committee, in a statement.

PoC3 will begin its auditing and certification process through third-party auditing firms like the Alliance for Audited Media and BPA Worldwide. The groups will be charged with validating network size, network health and campaign performance.

Originally released in October 2019, the PoC3 verification and validation guidance was designed to solidify standards around the delivery of advertising in and around doctor’s offices. They arrived in the wake of allegations against point-of-care mainstay Outcome Health, which allegedly misled pharmaceutical marketers about the number of video screens running their ads in doctor’s offices.

“Trust and transparency continue to be dominant themes in the point of care industry,” Tassone said in the statement.