Medical writing is a critical component of the broader patient engagement landscape, establishing the foundations of communication between pharmaceutical companies and patients. The quality of medical communication can be transformational in how a patient engages with and understands their treatment regimen, medical resources, and clinical trial options.
Studies show that patients who are engaged in their healthcare demonstrate higher levels of adherence to treatment, achieve improved health outcomes, and are all-around more satisfied with their care. As part of a well-rounded patient engagement strategy, ensuring high-quality medical writing should be prioritized. Consider the following items to produce more patient-centered content.
Write for Patients
Patient-centric writing focuses on the specific needs, preferences, and values of patients. Patient-centric medical writing considers the patient’s level of health literacy, cultural background, and personal beliefs. For example, when creating informed consent forms, patient centricity is a key factor in determining how well a patient can comprehend and make informed decisions based on the content.
Patient-centric medical writing also accounts for providing details that are relevant and meaningful to the end user. For example, when developing patient education materials, medical writers can tailor content to a specific condition, stage of the disease, and treatment plan based on the patient population and patient feedback. This level of personalization can yield increased patient engagement and, subsequently, promote patient self-management.
Develop Interactive Content
In the development of interactive and multimedia content, such as videos, animations, infographics, quizzes, and eLearning, medical writers can pull in elements of personalization to make materials more engaging and compelling.
These types of content help to educate patients about their conditions, provide information about treatment options, and empower patients to take an active role in their care plan. Examples of interactive content may include:
- An interactive quiz used to help patients understand the signs and symptoms of a mental health condition
- An animation shared across social media to bring attention to an oncology clinical trial enrolling in a specific region
- An educational video teaching patients and caregivers about available treatments for a chronic illness
Medical writers can incorporate interactivity early in the development process to ensure these materials are not simply comprehensive but also engaging and interesting to patients.
Prioritize Patient Access
Medical writing activities should prioritize patient access and consider various factors, such as communication preferences (digital versus paper), accessibility, and linguistic availability through translation and localization. Understanding how patients engage with content and selecting the appropriate medium based on patient preference and technological accessibility empowers patients to make informed healthcare decisions.
To ensure inclusivity, medical writers should also consider the needs of disabled populations, including individuals with vision impairment, hearing disabilities, and other physical or cognitive impairments. This includes providing alternate formats, such as braille, auto-speech recognition, and closed captioning, to enhance accessibility. It is important for medical writers to assess and identify opportunities for improved accessibility options, particularly for patient-facing content.
Additionally, a patient's cultural background significantly influences their engagement with medical communications. Translation and localization play a vital role in ensuring equitable access for patients who may have difficulty engaging with the dominant language of the healthcare system. Offering multilingual materials demonstrates respect for patients' cultural and linguistic backgrounds and facilitates comprehension of complex medical concepts. Removing linguistic and cultural barriers in medical writing practices is an essential component of an effective patient engagement strategy.
Assess Medical Content
To validate that patient materials can reach intended audiences, medical writing content should be evaluated for readability, relevancy, and applicability. To do so, patient materials should be assessed via readability metrics, such as Flesch Reading Ease or Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. Medical writers may also consider the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to assess readability on a deeper level.
To optimize patient engagement, direct patient review of patient materials can also be integrated into the content development workflow. Any number of engagements can be considered, including patient focus groups, written reviews, interviews, surveys, workshops, and advisory boards. Patient feedback can be gathered during such engagements and implemented into the content to better incorporate the patient’s voice.
Effective medical writing is instrumental in establishing clear lines of communication between patients and providers. Adopting a patient-centric writing strategy means medical writers can help patients better understand their healthcare options and empower them to take an active role in their care. As such, medical writing should be viewed as an integral component of patient care, with the potential to make a significant impact on the lives of patients and their families.
Want to ensure your medical writing activities are prioritizing patient engagement? Reach out to us today to discover how TransPerfect Life Sciences’ Medical Writing Solutions can help build your effective medical writing strategy.