Medical Writing Risk Management Out On Our Own

Volume 24, Issue 2 - Risk Management

Out On Our Own


All of us are aware by now that we can't live without technology and not only at work. With advice, aids, appliances and apps in abundance, we are at the point where we can't see the wood for the trees. Thank goodness we have advice from Michelle Storm Lane of the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE). In this issue, Michelle continues her series of articles introducing us to a raft of technologies there to help us. She is convinced that those who use selected technologies effectively are able to increase productivity, reduce stress, and free up spare time to earn (more?) money – or simply to enjoy life. She even recommends having a robot vacuum cleaner, which at least one of the editors of this section (AR) also fully recommends.

Amy Whereat has been looking at reference management software, and also points out that one way for those working on publications to work more effectively is to use systems that automate low-value tasks. These include keeping track of and correctly citing and formatting references and bibliographies. She provides us with an interesting overview of the pros and cons of different reference management systems.

As well as working efficiently as a self-employed person, you have to be able to market yourself and your services effectively using personal branding. Channels for this these days are your CV and your LinkedIn profile, and perhaps an executive biography or website – where you describe ‘brand You’, your value proposition, your abilities and your track record. Matt Craven is an expert in this and has an offer not to be missed for EMWA members: a FREE personal branding consultation. See Matt's article and don't miss this opportunity.

We also publish a question from Ruth Whittington in this issue about challenges when working with procurement agencies or outsourcing departments. This is a real problem we all face at some time in our careers, and we (and Ruth!) look forward to hearing about your experiences.

Kathryn White

Alistair Reeves

Technology you can't live without

Why is it that some people have the magic touch when it comes to technology? Are there some strange magnetic forces within us that cause machines to spring to life in the hands of some, when in the hands of others they go into total meltdown? I have a very technophobic friend who certainly thinks so!

But if you can somehow master the miracle of technology, the rewards are significant. Freelancers who use technology effectively are able to increase productivity, reduce stress, and free up spare time to earn money – or simply to enjoy life.

Could you be making better use of all the amazing tools that are out there? We asked a range of writers and medical translators for some ideas. This is what they came back with:

Call in the robots

One of the wonders of the modern world is the sheer volume of innovative solutions coming out that allow you to automate repetitive tasks.

Sean d'Souza says that one of his biggest time-saving tools is Text Expander1. As a writer, he frequently has to type out very similar passages of text in articles or emails. Text expander allows him to programme shortcut keys for each passage – when he hits the shortcut key, the whole passage is automatically pasted into the document or email and he can tweak as necessary without retyping the whole thing. So if you frequently use the same phrases, paragraphs or even pictures, this is one ‘robot’ that could really speed up your work rate.

Another area that lends itself to automation is bookkeeping – there really is no need to do it all manually when you could quicken the process using online software. Tools like http://www.getha



Risk Management
President's Message
The changing face of (benefit-)risk management
Pharmacovigilance medical writing: An evolving profession
A shot at demystifying the risk management plan for medical writers
Using social media as the patient's voice in the benefit-risk assessment of drugs: Are we ready?
Special section: Winners of the Geoff Hall Scholarship essay competition
News from the EMA
Profile: An interview with Ingrid Edsman on why attending EMWA conferences is so rewarding!
The Webscout
In the Bookstores
Regulatory Writing: Review process in regulatory writing
Lingua Franca and Beyond
Gained in Translation
Manuscript Writing
English Grammar and Style: Revising medical writing Reasons not rules: Backtracking, pronoun-induced Part 3 - Double syntactic unit revision and syntactic position revision
Out On Our Own


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

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