How to write great medical documents
A medical document contains scientific information put together by a specialized writer who has understanding of both the source and the target audience of the information. The writer has knowledge of medicine and works with the medical practitioners to produce information intended for physicians, patients, regulators or the general public.
The document, which the writer ensures conforms to the guidelines of the regulators, contains details of research results, medical information, product use, among others. A medical document, therefore, is important in ensuring good health of the public in general. Any wrong information is costly.
Know the target audience. Build a relationship with your readers and put yourself in their position when writing. It helps in getting the tone of the document and the language to use. It also helps you to know what your readers, whether patients or physicians would like to read. Your language should be tailored for the intended audience.
Avoid medical jargons and long sentences as much as possible. They drive away your readers who might not understand whatever you are explaining. In cases where such are unavoidable, give explanation the terms. Do not make any assumptions.
Do a thorough research on your topic. It would be disastrous to give information to the public that you don't understand. If the information is from a specialist, do some research to have basic understanding of the topic.
Organize your thoughts and ideas. If your document is poorly organized, your readers may be intimidated and stop reading immediately they start. Limit your concepts to two or three and explain in simple and clear language. Put your main points at the beginning of the paragraphs, or even better, of the document. It is helpful in grabbing the attention of the reader and hooking them to the end.
Choose a format you would want to use and which you are sure your readers would find easy to read. You can either give step-by-step instructions or give a detailed explanation of the concept, depending on the topic you are discussing. Keep your sentences short preferably less than 20 words each.
Be accurate. When getting the medical information from the expert, be keen and capture all the information. Most medical writers get the information by listening to audios from the experts and transcribing them. It needs a high level of accuracy. You should seek clarifications on areas that you missed or areas that are unclear. Listen to the audio after transcription to ensure what is in the audio is what you got. If possible, get a quality assurance officer to go through your document before you present it to your author.
Be detailed. When writing your draft, pay attention to detail, do not ignore some details, they might be what the audience needed. The writer, therefore, should have some knowledge of whatever he is writing so as not to take the specialist's word for everything. Question any inconsistencies that the specialist might have made and get the right information. Put the information, however technical, into simple language for your readers, to understand all the details.
Use an active voice in your documents to give a more authoritative statement that the readers can take seriously. It also makes your explanations and examples vivid that the readers can easily understand.
To make your documents even more detailed and illustrative, us photos with brief captions. The photos and the colors should be appealing to the target audience. Italics and capital letters are not advisable. For emphasis, use bold headings and subheadings. Edit and proofread your draft to ensure it is of high quality.
In summary, a good medical document should:
- Have its audience in mind.
- Live to its purpose.
- Be accurate.
- Be detailed.
- Thoroughly researched.