Thursday, April 21, 2011


One of the most crucial areas for clarity is when writing about health and medicine to the general public. A recent study of hospital patients found that 66 percent do not understand medical language. Such words as cardiac, respiratory, and malignant are incomprehensible to the average reader.
     A report by the Canadian Pharmaceutical Association concludes that 97 percent of the pamphlets and booklets written about drugs and health care require a Grade 11 or higher education to read. The average Canadian reader has a Grade 8 comprehension.

If you're writing medical brochures, strive for an informal, conversational style. No medical or technical terms without simple translation with familiar words. Use examples or human interest stories to illustrate facts. But make sure they can reflect daily life of readers. Best test: try explaining the key points to a 10-year-old child. If you can make the child understand, you are on track for communicating health care information to the "average" person.

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