Medical writing for a consumer audience
With any type of writing, it’s important to consider your audience. Medical writing is no exception. Some materials are written with medical professionals in mind, while others are written with consumers (or patients) as the main audience. Either way, the use of clear, concise language that is easy to understand is key to optimising engagement.
What are some of the materials that are written for consumers?
Patient materials can take various forms, such as articles, brochures, videos, infographics, and websites.
Some materials written for a consumer/patient audience include:
- consumer medicines information (information inserts included with medications)
- health information on conditions, procedures and treatments
- plain language summaries of clinical studies
What’s important when writing for consumers?
For any audience, medical content should be engaging, accurate and in line with guidelines set by regulatory agencies. Our medical writers work with healthcare professionals and patient advocacy groups to ensure that content meets these requirements.
For a consumer audience, it’s important to make complex medical information accessible and easy to understand while still being accurate and providing relevant information.
What techniques do medical writers use when writing for consumers?
Here are a few examples of techniques that medical writers use when writing for consumers.
- Plain language: Medical language can be complex. Using plain language and defining medical terms and jargon makes the information more accessible to patients. Short sentences and paragraphs also help improve the readability of your content.
- Visuals: Adding illustrations, diagrams, photos and infographics help break up large blocks of text and make the information more engaging and easier to understand.
- Organise information: Using headings and bullet points, as well as bolding or highlighting key information, helps people find the information they are looking for quickly and easily. Adequate white space lets the reader navigate the page more easily.
- Active voice: Writing in active voice, which is more direct, helps simplify language and is a good idea when writing for any audience.
- Readability: Checking the readability of the text with a readability tool ensures it’s at a level that most people can easily understand.
Are there any resources that can help with writing for consumers?
The following resources can help you create content for consumers.
- Sydney Health Literacy Lab Health Literacy Editor (SHeLL)
- The American Institutes for Research PLS tool kit
- Australian Government Style Manual