Medical Writing Artificial intelligence and Digital Health An introduction to medical affairs for medical writers

Volume 28, Issue 4 - Artificial intelligence and Digital Health

An introduction to medical affairs for medical writers


The role of medical affairs in pharmaceutical and medical device companies is gaining prominence. Medical writers will increasingly find themselves supporting medical affairs activities or, indeed, transitioning to jobs within medical affairs departments. But, what does this field allied to medical communications involve? To learn more, the authors explored the literature and interviewed two senior medical affairs professionals from different industries. They discovered that medical affairs professionals have a strategic role, handle scientific dialogue, promote partnerships between stakeholders, and anticipate trends in the healthcare sector. While an MD or PhD is desirable for potential candidates, a scientific degree is acceptable. Working with medical affairs can be demanding, but there are attractions: good work-life balance and salary, diversity of activity, and opportunities to attend international conferences. Medical writers may be involved in publications, regulatory activities, research, meetings, and educational outputs. Medical affairs continues to evolve into a bridge between science and commerce which strives to be the ‘honest broker’. It is increasingly becoming the face of the health industry and a strategic pillar within many companies.

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  1. Werling K, Carnell H, McCormick D. Focus on life science compliance: the evolution of medical affairs departments. 2011 November [cited 2019 Mar 15]. Available from: Available from: https://www.mcguirewoods. com/news-resources/publications/ health_care/focus-life-science-compliancenov- 2011.pdf
  2. Carroll G, Yang T, Volini A, Xu A, Gazes S. Medical affairs: driving influence across health care ecosystem. Deloitte Development LLC 2015 [cited 2019 Sep 11). Available from: Available from: com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Document s/life-sciences-health-care/us-lshc-instantinsights- medical-affairs-031715.pdf
  3. Ismael A. Best practices for establishing and maintaining a medical affairs department. LinkedIn. 2015 September 8 [cited 2019 Mar 15]. Available from: Available from: establishing-maintaining-medicalahmed- e-ismael-md/
  4. Evers M, Ghatak A, Holt E, et al. A vision for medical affairs in 2025. McKinsey & Co. 2019 April [cited 2019 Jul 11]. Available from: Available from: media/McKinsey/Industries/Pharmaceutic als%20and%20Medical%20Products/Our% 20Insights/A%20vision%20for%20medical %20affairs%20in%202025/A-Vision-for- Medical-Affairs-in-2025.ashx



Table of Contents
Artificial intelligence and digital health
President's Message
Medical writing in the era of artificial intelligence
Blockchain in healthcare, research, and scientific publishing
Embracing a new friendship: Artificial intelligence and medical writers
Drug development and medical writing in the digital world
Intelligent use of artificial intelligence for systematic reviews of medical devices
What medical writers need to know about regulatory approval of mobile health and digital healthcare devices
Digitalisation in long-term care: An issue for medical writers?
An introduction to medical affairs for medical writers
A primer on anonymisation
Sound, microphone, action: Podcasts for medical writers
Regulatory Matters
News from the EMA
Lingua Franca and Beyond
In the Bookstores
Getting Your Foot in the Door
Medical Devices
Veterinary Medical Writing
Teaching Medical Writing
Journal Watch
Medical Communications and Writing for Patients
Good Writing Practice
Out on Our Own
Upcoming issues of Medical Writing


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Editoral Board


Raquel Billiones


Evguenia Alechine

Jonathan Pitt

Managing Editor

Victoria White

Deputy Managing Editor

Alicia Brooks Waltman

Associate Editors

Anuradha Alahari

Jennifer Bell

Nicole Bezuidenhout

Claire Chang

Barbara Grossman

Sarah Milner

John Plant

Sampoorna Rappaz

Amy Whereat

Section Editors

Daniela Kamir


Jennifer Bell


Nicole Bezuidenhout 

Digital Communication

Somsuvro Basu

EMWA News 

Ana Sofia Correia 

Gained in Translation

Ivana Turek

Getting Your Foot in the Door

Wendy Kingdom / Amy Whereat

Good Writing Practice

Alison McIntosh 

In the Bookstores

Maria Kołtowska-Häggström

Lingua Franca and Beyond

Maddy Dyer


Lisa Chamberlain-James

Medical Communications/Writing for Patients

Payal Bhatia

Medical Devices

Evguenia Alechine

My First Medical Writing

Anuradha Alahari

News from the EMA

Adriana Rocha


Tiziana von Bruchhausen


Clare ChangZuo Yen Lee 

Regulatory Matters

Sam Hamilton

Regulatory Public Disclosure

Claire Gudex

Teaching Medical Writing

Louisa Ludwig-Begall / Sarah Kabani

The Crofter: Sustainable Communications

Louisa Marcombes

Veterinary Writing

Editors Emeritus

Elise Langdon-Neuner

Phil Leventhal

Layout Designer

Chris Monk