With the advent of cutting-edge technology, many pharmaceutical companies and hospitals are also tapping into the potential of the internet and multimedia platform to achieve multiple objectives, e.g. marketing their products, setting up company training programs, conveying health messages to consumers, or conducting continuing medical education (CME) programs for medical professionals.
A medical writer may be involved in developing content for some of the common electronic projects:
- Web site – a web site may be designated for a specific drug to inform people about its use, efficacy data and safety profile. Some companies also build web sites containing training materials for internal staffs, or CME programs for doctors. Nowadays, many events and meetings are also announced through web sites, allowing participants to register via the web site, book hotels and submit relevant information to the event organizer.
- E-newsletter – to send out updates on regular intervals (e.g. quarterly, biannually, annually); it can be a simple letter to notify its registered members on new content on the web sites, thus directing them to read online; or it can be a newsletter containing informative articles and news saved in the PDF format.
- CD-ROM – a convenient way to mobilize information as a CD can carry lots of information and be played in almost any computer or laptop nowadays. A CD-ROM may be a video recording of a lecture by an eminent speaker; this gives people a chance to ‘attend’ the talk at a later time even if they are not physically present during the lecture. Other things that may be stored in a CD-ROM include drug detailing information, clinical papers, patient education articles, staff training programs, special softwares for doctors, and many more.
As communications agencies also take on event management projects, some times medical writers are involved in preparing conference materials. The event can be a small scale advisory board meeting related to a particular disease with around 10 participants, or an international medical conference attracting hundreds and thousands of delegates from different parts of the world.
A medical writer needs to work on the preparation of the conference materials, such as:
- Invitation letter
- Meeting agenda
- Conference kit – it may contain a welcome letter, abstracts of lectures, printouts of the presentation slides and notes, plus some other relevant information for the participants’ reference
- A meeting report, if the event is a advisory board meeting or round table discussion