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Medical Writers: Writing Patient Education Brochures

Medical & Scientific Writing

Medical Writers: Writing Patient Education Brochures

Writing educational reading material for patients and public at large can be an interesting break from the technical and scientific writing, written specifically for an audience with varied medical backgrounds. So what makes writing patient education brochures interesting? Well, a couple of things:

Different Source Content

Writing a patient education brochure is very different from technical writing. It involves searching information from all possible channels and resources, unlike technical writing where most of the content comes from lectures, presentations, scientific articles, research papers and event highlight bulletins.

The client might provide the basic information and material, but assembling the information in the brochure requires a good internet search for latest facts and data relevant to the topic. Journals and magazines available in the company library may also prove helpful.

Different Writing Style

General public is not aware of the scientific terminology which medical experts and healthcare personnel may be well versed with, e.g. “Medullary cystic kidney disease” is difficult to understand by general public but by medical experts it is well understood. Therefore, it is important that layman terms are used which can be easily understood by the public. Even if scientific term is used, the meaning should be immediately explained after the terminology.

Example:- ….. Medullary cystic kidney disease (a childhood genetic kidney disease)….

Similar to drafting event highlights or event summary:

Drafting key points and an engaging storyline for the brochure is a crucial step. E.g. while preparing a brochure on kidney disease; we can start with a simple outline:

-What is kidney disease?
-Common types of kidney disease?
-Main causes of kidney disease?
-Population at risk?
-Major complications associated with kidney disease?
-How to manage and prevent kidney disease?

The above outline will serve as the main skeleton for the content. Detailed elaboration of points, facts and illustrations can be done, if required. Information on risk factors, preventive steps, or benefits can be illustrated using bullet points, pictures, figures, tables and graphs.

Once the first draft is complete, make sure you follow the following key points which are similar to drafting the event highlights as discussed in earlier posts:

-First draft to be edited by the editor.
-Submission of draft to the client for approval.
-Revisions to be made on the basis of client’s comments.
-Passing on the approved draft to the designer for the layout.
-Working with the designer to make sure all text, figures and images are in place.
-Submitting the complete brochure to the client for approval.

If you need some inspiration, don’t hesitate to pick up a patient education brochure from a pharmacy or a clinic the next time you visit it.

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