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6 tips to get the most out of your freelance medical writer when preparing a clinical research manuscript

6 tips to get the most out of your freelance medical writer when preparing a clinical research manuscript

  • Reading time:4 mins read

Do you have clinical research that you need to present or publish in a timely manner? You are not alone! A freelance medical writer can help you to navigate the publication process.

An expert medical writer can distil complex data into a clear, engaging, and concise article that tells a story and presents your findings in a compelling manner. This can make the publication process a little easier, and a lot less daunting.

As with all partnerships, there are several ways to ensure your collaboration with a freelance medical writer is a success.

1. Involve your medical writer at kick-off

Engage your freelance writer as a member of the team from the project’s inception. This will set the stage for a successful partnership.

Your freelance medical writer should be included in the kick-off meeting or discussion. This helps them to gain a clear understanding of the focus of the manuscript, the data the authors wish to include, and the expected outcomes. The GPP 2022 Good Publication Practice Guidelines provides very clear guidance on the role of the professional medical writer throughout a project.

Involving your writer early in the process also enables them to provide valuable input from the outset and to clarify any queries they may have. This can be a real time saver!

2. Provide a clear and detailed brief and kick-off notes

A comprehensive brief and detailed kick-off notes from client meetings or internal discussions are critical to align expectations.

The brief should include background information, specific objectives, a summary of key data to include in the paper and the target journal.

3. Ensure your data are in order

Authors and agencies should ensure that the medical writer has access to all necessary data, ideally in the format of a clinical study report or output data tables and figures.

Making sure data sets are up-to-date, complete, and correctly formatted can go a long way to reducing unnecessary project delays.

4. Provide timely, specific feedback

As your medical writer writes the manuscript, several queries may arise, which require clarification by the authors.

Establishing an open feedback loop between writer, agency and authors allows for iterative improvements and ultimately leads to higher-quality output.

Agencies and authors should provide clear, constructive, and specific feedback to their medical writers in a timely manner to avoid unnecessary delays and to keep the project moving!

5. Ensure you set realistic timelines

Setting realistic timelines is crucial for effective project management. Clearly communicate the desired deadlines, taking into account the complexity of the project, the volume of work, and any anticipated review cycles.

A collaborative discussion between the agency and the freelance medical writer can help establish feasible timelines that align with the project’s scope and ensure a smooth workflow.

6. Establish a solid working relationship with your writer

Freelance medical writers can add value to your publications. Fostering long-term relationships with a writer enables them to build on their existing expertise to become experts in your therapeutic area. This in turn, can facilitate the writing process making it more cost and time effective.

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At Elion Medical Communications, we are experts in medical writing! We provide medical writing services to medical communications agencies and directly to pharmaceutical or medical device companies. With over 20 years of experience writing for leading medical device and pharmaceutical drug brands, we like to think we know a thing or two about the art and science of healthcare writing!

Emma Donadieu