Industry Insights MedComms

Industry Insights: MedComms 15 January

Industry Insights: MedComms 15 January

  • Reading time:3 mins read

In this piece, we highlight two topics in the medical publishing industry that are sparking discussions. This piece focuses on disinformation and misinformation, as these have been discussed as being some of the top risks in medical writing in 2024.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner has urged the clinical community to redouble efforts to provide plain language summaries (PLS) regarding the benefits and risks of vaccination.

Peter Marks, Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA, and Robert Califf, Commissioner of the FDA, have published a viewpoint in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It focuses on the increasing number of people in the United States who are declining vaccinations, which is reaching a point where population immunity against vaccine-preventable infections is at risk.

They state that one way to counter this is to use PLS to communicate the benefits and risks of vaccination. This would allow individuals to make well-informed decisions based on scientific evidence. The authors also highlight how the FDA will continue to provide information in PLS. It is likely that other agencies and journals will increasingly use PLS to combat disinformation and misinformation. We have previously written a blog post on why you should use PLS with links to tools that can help you write an effective PLS.

Although we have seen the benefit that AI can have in generating PLS, its use in medical communications also raises the concern that it can be used to produce misinformation and disinformation. A recent studydemonstrated that a publicly available large language model (LLM) was able to produce 102 distinct blog articles within 65 minutes. These blog posts were created in several languages and could be targeted to specific audiences. Notably, the blog posts complied with prompts to include scientific-looking references and featured fictitious testimonials from patients and doctors.

The authors highlight the need for AI vigilance. Health communicators can play a crucial role in preventing the spread of false health information by meticulously checking the data and sources generated by AI. Nature has previously published eight rules on how to combat medical misinformation– a worthwhile read in the current circumstances.

Elion Medical Communications