Medical writers have to stick with high standards as part of their work. Anyone involved in medical communications needs to create content of the best professional standards, and that should be an expectation whether the materials they right are under the jurisdiction of a particular regulatory body or not. You need to prevent the spread of incorrect information, but you should also know that medical writing involves a lot of potential pitfalls. The following are four hazards you need to avoid and how you can do so.
1. Pick the Right Topic
If your medical writing is going to be a research article, then you need to find the right topic. It should obviously be something that interests you, but you should also have a good reason why it interests you. Don’t go chasing fads or just dive into something that you find generally interesting, as you need to narrow your focus on something useful. Pick a topic that is broad enough to have plenty of available research to look into and quote, but keep it focused enough to have a specific point you’re trying to make.
2. Learn the Universal Resource
If you want to avoid common medical writing mistakes, then write in the universal style. The American Medical Association (AMA) publishes a Manual of Style that is widely considered the definitive guide for all those involved with scientific and medical publications. If you want to be taken seriously in medical communications, then you can’t be someone who writes “healthcare” as one word in your textual works. Writing that as one word is very trendy in modern communications, and it’s being adopted into the Associated Press style of writing that dominates online content. However, medical writing in the AMA style still keeps “health care” as two words, and your target audience will notice things like this.
3. Forgetting Your Audience
One of the easiest medical writing mistakes to make is to simply forget your audience. Always keep them in mind, and know who they are. This helps your content resonate with them. Provide content that is comprehensive without oversimplifying things for them. Writing medical communications requires specific adaptations to your voice, tone, and diction.
4. Failing to Organize
Another subtle medical writing mistake that’s also significant is not being properly organized. The order of information you present is crucial in terms of macro-structure in your content, but you need to remember to present your most crucial information from the very start and then move into progressively less crucial content later on. Micro-structure is also something to pay attention to, as you need to consider word placement within each sentence. Don’t repeat the same words too closely together in either the same or adjoining sentences.
If medical writing were easy, then anyone could do it. Even if you feel like you can, you’re only human and prone to occasional mistakes. Now that you know these four particular blunders, you can avoid them or fix them. However, it might also make sense to consult a third-party medical writing service that can handle matters such as scientific or interactive standard content responses, promotional and medical material reviews, publications writing, infographic creation, or FAQ development.