Medical writing involves writing well- structured scientific documents such as- relevant health magazines, clinical research documents, informational articles, content for healthcare websites, journals and news. The topics of medical writing could be disease or drug related research articles or content for publication such as journal manuscripts, apart from that Medical writing also involves written content for healthcare websites, magazines and news articles.
In a typical healthcare setting, wherever a detailed review or documentation is required – Medical Writing is essential. These days a lot of hospitals and companies are hiring Medical Writing professionals for detailed audits and reviews.
Medical writing can be of two types:
- Regulatory medical writing
- Educational medical writing
It is all about writing detailed and structured documents for regulatory agencies in order to seek approval for devices, drugs and biologics such as – hormones, blood products, growth factors, vaccines,etc. This report might include clinical trial data, post approval documents, regulatory submission documents, etc.
Examples of Regulatory Writing:
- Prescription information & Patient Information handouts
- Reports on clinical studies
- Synopses of data on web
- Subject specific writing
- Regulatory submission documents – Expert reports, Common Technical Document (CTD) modules – clinical and non-clinical summaries, Aggregate safety reports – Periodic Safety Update Reports ( PSURs), Safety & efficacy synopses, bridging reports, Periodic Adverse Drug Experience Reports (PADER), Annual safety reports (ASR)s; policy documents, etc.
- Proposals and applications for new FDA drug and medical device
Educational Medical Writing
It involves a detailed informational article, review or paragraphs about devices, medicines and biologics. This information is coherent in nature and is written very clearly and concisely. Educational medical writing is sometimes done for specialized audiences such as healthcare professionals, which includes content such as:
- Informative content on newly launched drugs
- Medical journals
- Continuing Education
- Continuing Medical Education
- Technical guidelines
Educational medical writing can be further divided into different categories:
The need for a good healthcare content writer grew since structured content was needed for various platforms. This content is precise and helps the user understand the concept in simple terms and words. Medical writing does not involve inventing or generating the actual concept but combining the work of scientists and physicians to present the information at the right level for the target audience. Since the knowledge is vast and consists of the research work, medical writers put this information in a readable context mentioning the references and combining information from various sources to put out a storyline of the information with facts.
In order to become a Medical content writer – specialized knowledge and skills are supposed to be present in the writer who is able to write scientific documents that are well- structured and presented in a clear and concise manner.
Eligibility for becoming a medical writer sometimes differs from one organization to another, as the type of Medical writing, type of organization, knowledge and experience are the driving factors for the job role.
Common Eligibility of the job is:
- Bachelor or Masters degree in life sciences or related field
- Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in the English language is not mandatory but recommended,
- Basic knowledge and understanding of medical terminologies Experience in medical field is preferred
- Certifications from Indian Medical Writers Association (IMWA) for the position of Regulatory Medical Writers
- PhD’s or MD’s are specific for core organizations
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The salary for Medical writing ranges between 1.5 LPA to 6.5 LPA in India, but often the writers are hired on per writeup basis and the pay scale then changes to hourly or per writeup basis.
Medical writing as a profession also varies from organization to organization and the salary ranges according to the kind of content being written.
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- Creating, proofreading and editing regulatory and clinical documents, Investigator brochures.
- Directly involved in medical marketing of new FDA drugs, pharmaceutical products, equipment through writeups, blogs, information handouts/leaflets, etc.
- Coordination with physicians, scientists and healthcare professionals for whereabouts of ongoing research and transcribing study results into readable data.
- Collaborating with physicians, surgeons, scientists and subject matter experts for documentation.
- Writing research articles, review articles, monograms on subject specific topics Writing educational content for pharmaceutical companies about usage and product guidelines of new drugs and medical devices.
- Write Ups for press releases, news articles, journals, magazines.
- Write ups and blogs for new and ongoing research topics and disease related outbreaks
- Fortifying medical documents that they comply to International Conference on Harmonization(ICH) or other regulatory guidelines
- Developing SOPs or Standard Operating Procedures for preparation and maintenance of compliant medical content specific for a company.
Medical writing jobs are available in different healthcare-related sectors such as :
- CROs( Contract Research Organizations)
- BPOs (Business process outsourcing )
- KPOs (Knowledge Process Outsourcing)
- Healthcare Websites
- Companies providing Scientific and healthcare-related content
- New and Media writing Medical Journals, healthcare-related articles, etc Medical institutions
- Media & Publishing companies
- Pharmaceutical/healthcare product manufacturing companies
- Food processing companies
- Cosmetics manufacturing companies
Who Hires Medical Writers?
Companies Hiring for Medical Content Writer:
|Eli Lilly and company||www.lillyindia.co.in/|
|PRA Health Sciences||www.prahs.com|
In order to become a medical content writer/ clinical writer/ medical writer you require three things:
- Subject specific Knowledge: Applying as a medical content writer one should have basic knowledge about the medical terminologies and in depth knowledge of science and healthcare setting – since communication is related to scientific information and concepts. Apart from that specific therapeutic knowledge for technical documents
- English knowledge and power skills: Understanding and imparting knowledge in perfect literature with correct English and grammar is required for any content writing job. Power skills however are not mandatory but essential for regulatory writers as they have to create write ups and content that requires data manipulation.
- Ability to write: The specific skill required for this job is the ability to put scientific data into understandable and readable form. The ability to make the user understand the content in a better manner and help create a concise form of different scientific discoveries.
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Guidelines for writing the medical content involves the following:
- Understanding the purpose: Before starting a project the writer must know the purpose of starting that project and the requirements specific for the particular project. For example: For writing content for pharmaceutical companies the understanding of the purpose of writing about a new product must be clear – whether it is for marketing purposes or for product knowledge for physicians and nurses or it is for the general public to know about the product.
- Research: Researching about the topic is an essential part of the job. Research is not time specific but before the content is written the writer must have done the proper literature research and then combine the data from different sources to give a resourceful output.
- Proofreading and Compilation: The third step involves proofreading the document/ article and then compiling it to lay it out in a presentable format, this may or may not include infographics, pictures related videos and procedure information. Compilation varies with different documents and articles as some are just information oriented research papers while the others are process outlines.
- Review: Review of the document/write up is majorly done by the person who assigned the task to check whether or not it serves the purpose for which it was written. Self review involves checking the grammatical errors and technical correctness of the content.
Medical writing as a profession holds many perks and benefits:
- The job includes a mix of medical field and language expertise – such as English Language
- The job entails perks of working in the healthcare/ medical field
- Medical writing as a profession also involves end-to-end ownership of the content hence eligible as copyright work.
- Lots of growth opportunities in the career as there are many requirements for medical writers especially after the Covid wave.
- The profession comes with the benefits of different types of work environments i.e. Work from home, Freelance, project-based working, etc.
- Good salary and compensation, sometimes marketing specific writeups are also eligible for per write up pay.
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