Medical Writing Medical Communication Lingua Franca and Beyond

Volume 25, Issue 2 - Medical Communication

Lingua Franca and Beyond


Communication, communication and even medical communication

What is it about? Let’s start with the Wikipedia definition: “Communication (from Latin comm - ūnicāre, meaning ‘to share’) is the purposeful activity of information exchange between two or more participants in order to convey or receive the intended meanings through a shared system of signs and semiotic rules.”1 So it is about sharing information on purpose, and in this light medical communication should be perceived as any medical information shared between any parties, as long as it is done on purpose. But is it really what we, medical writers, have in mind when talking about medical communication? To check it, I went back to the archive of Medical Writing and even The Write Stuff (Medical Writing ancestor) and searched for a definition or explanation. It didn’t take me long to come across Ryan Woodrow’s article in which he tries to answer a very simple question: “So what exactly does your job involve?” Ryan is a freelance medical communication consultant. His answer is simple and short: “I help pharmaceutical companies to communicate about their drugs to doctors”, but then he elaborates:


  1. Wikipedia. Communication [cited 2016 May 23] Available from: https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Communication
  2. Woodrow R. Freelance Medical Commun ic - at ions Consultant: “So what exactly does your job involve?” The Write Stuff 2011;20(1):17-9.
  3. Davis NM. Medical abbreviations: 5500 conveniences at the expense of commun ic - ation and safety. Huntingdon Valley, Penn - sylvania: Neil M. Davis Associates; 1988.
  4. Brunetti L, Santell JP, Hicks RW. The impact of abbreviations on patient safety. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety 2007;33:(9)576–83.
  5. Kuhn IF. Abbreviations and acronyms in healthcare: when shorter isn’t sweeter. Pediatr Nurs 2007;33(5):392-8.



Medical communication writers: Who are they and what do they do?
President's Message
Suggested reading in recent issues of European Science Editing
Medical affairs writing: A key role to relay medical information to everyone
Top ten questions about careers in MedComms
Staying ahead of the game in the changing arena of ethical medical communications - Viewpoint of a freelance medical writer
A PhD and medical writing: A good match
Writing for pharmaceutical or medical device companies: A survey of entry requirements, career paths, quality of life, and personal observations
Medical Gems
The request for proposal process: A brief overview for trainee medical writers
Winners of the Geoff Hall Scholarship Essay Competition
Abstracts from the EMWA Spring Conference Poster Session
News from the EMA
Journal Watch
In the Bookstores
The Webscout
Regulatory Matters
Lingua Franca and Beyond
Gained in Translation
Medical Writing Teaching
Profile - An Interview with Juliane Chaccour - Writing in Mozambique
Letter to the Editor
Out On Our Own

Member Login


The Write Stuff Archive Contact Instructions for Authors Feature Article Template (Word) Journal Policies

Editoral Board



Managing Editor

show all +

Associate Editors:

Section Editors:

Ad-hoc Editors:

  • Amy Whereat (SpeaktheSpeech Consulting, Asnieres sur Seine, France)

Editor Emeritus: