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The Medical Writer’s Role in Promoting Shared Decision Making

This article is based on content presented by Kathi Whitman, MA, at the AMWA Medical Writing & Communication Conference. It was originally published in the AMWA Journal.

Imagine your loved one has been newly diagnosed with a chronic disease such as end-stage renal disease, breast cancer, or obstructive sleep apnea. Owing to the stressful diagnosis, your loved one may have trouble taking in new information and choosing among numerous treatment options within a limited time. Can your medical writing skills help this difficult process?

November 4, 2019 at 8:00 AM

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3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Writing for Lay Audiences

As medical writers, the heart of our work is to convey information to a specific audience. Writing for patients, we are trusted with interpreting highly technical information to educate, protect, enable, and empower our readers. The result of poor understanding can be directly harmful to health. However, successfully informing patients leads to better health outcomes, including more preventative care and fewer hospitalizations.

In this post I offer 3 questions that will help you use plain language effectively and successfully when writing for lay audiences.

October 28, 2019 at 1:30 PM

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Building a Health-Literate Society [Communication Strategies]

Health literacy is important for improving people’s long-term health and quality of life. In an ideal society, health literacy would be high and people would regularly take preventative measures to protect their health, manage chronic conditions, and have better health outcomes.

July 8, 2019 at 1:30 PM

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Curing the Outbreak of Medical Misinformation

While fake political news has dominated the headlines over the past few years, the proliferation of science denial and misinformation about health and medicine has also caused widespread concern. Most notable is the misleading or false information on social media about the perceived dangers of childhood vaccines. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared vaccine hesitancy to be one of the 10 greatest global threats to human health in 2019.

Despite valid data showing that vaccines are one of the most cost-effective ways to control childhood diseases, the safety of vaccines has been questioned since research in the late 1990s showed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism; the research was proved to be fraudulent, but the damaged reputation continued. With the rise of the “anti-vaxxer movement,” many medical and scientific groups have galvanized over the past year to combat the threat of anti-vaccination to global public health. 

June 18, 2019 at 2:30 PM

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