Medical Writing Writing better Three strategies to help you write clearly for a lay audience

Volume 26, Issue 1 - Writing better

Three strategies to help you write clearly for a lay audience

Abstract

When writing health and medical content for a lay audience, it is important to think beyond simply writing well. Defining your ideal readers, reducing medical jargon, and producing a well-formatted piece of work  can all enhance your reader’s understanding. In this article, I explain how these three key strategies will help you write clearer medical content for lay readers. I also give some exercises to help you put these strategies into practice.

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References

  1. Graham S and Brookey J, Do Patients Understand? Perm J. 2008; 12(3): 67–9.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Quick Guide to Health Literacy [cited 19 Jan 2017]. Available from: https://health.gov/communication/literacy/quickguide/factsliteracy.htm
  3. Senelick R. C. Get your doctor to stop using medical jargon [2012 May 25; cited 19 Jan 2017]. Available: Available from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-c-senelickmd/medical-jargon_b_1450797.html
  4. Valtorta NK, Kanaan M, Gilbody S, Ronzi S, Hanratty B. Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke: systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal observational studies. Heart. 2016;102(13):1009-16.

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Articles

Writing Better
President’s Message
EMWA News
Advancing the Medical Writing profession: The Joint Position Statement on the Role of Professional Medical Writers
AMWA-EMWA-ISMPP Joint Position Statement on the Role of Professional Medical Writers
EMWA’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
Finding the action in your writing: Avoiding nominalisation
Removing the dead wood
Writing economically in medicine and science: Tips for tackling wordiness
How to shorten a text by up to 30% and improve clarity without losing information
Troublesome words
Can you recognise the four main ways that English sentences can be structured?
Three strategies to help you write clearly for a lay audience
Structuring paragraphs
A checklist to improve your writing
Results of the 2016 EMWA member survey
News from the EMA
Getting Your Foot in the Door
Teaching Medical Writing
In the Bookstores
Lingua Franca and Beyond
The Webscout
Good Writing Practice
Medical Communications
Profile: An Interview with Michael Markie - an open science and open data advocate
Out on Our Own

Member Login

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Editoral Board

Editor-in-Chief

Raquel Billiones

Co-Editors

Evguenia Alechine

Jonathan Pitt

Managing Editor

Victoria White

Deputy Managing Editor

Alicia Waltman

Associate Editors

Anuradha Alahari

Jennifer Bell

Clare Chang

Barbara Grossman

Daniela Nakagawa

Joselita T. Salita

Petal Smart

Amy Whereat

Section Editors

Nicole Bezuidenhout 

Digital Communication

Somsuvro Basu

EMWA News       

Aurélie Gobet / Paolo Rega

Gained in Translation

Ivana Turek

Getting Your Foot in the Door

Wendy Kingdom / Amy Whereat

Good Writing Practice

Alison McIntosh / Stephen Gilliver

In the Bookstores

Maria Kołtowska-Häggström

Lingua Franca and Beyond

Phil Leventhal

Manuscript Writing

Lisa Chamberlain-James

Medical Communications/Writing for Patients

Namrata Upadhyay

Medical Devices

Evguenia Alechine

My First Medical Writing

Anuradha Alahari

News from the EMA

Laura Kehoe

Out on Our Own

Tiziana von Bruchhausen

Pharmacovigilance

Jennifer Clemens

Regulatory Matters

Sam Hamilton

Regulatory Public Disclosure

Claire Gudex

Teaching Medical Writing

Kimi Uegaki

The Crofter: Sustainable Communications

Jennifer Bell / Louisa Marcombes

Veterinary Writing

Editors Emeritus

Elise Langdon-Neuner

Phil Leventhal

Lay out Designer

Chris Monk