Plain Language Summaries of Publications – How Medical Writers Bridge the Gap

1:35 PM - 2:05 PM

Plain language summaries of publications (PLSPs) have several aims. They are designed to provide non specialist audiences with a summary of the research article that allows them to understand the reason(s) why the research was done, the findings of the research, and, importantly, the impact and importance of the outcomes for patients and the general public. Although some journals have embraced PLSPs, very few are published, and there is a huge gulf between the demand for patient-friendly summaries of research and the production of fit-for-purpose information.  Medical writers are uniquely placed to help with the effort to produce high quality, clear, and useful PLSPs, but this can be challenging. Writers face issues surrounding lack of guidance and templates, discoverability, lack of consistency, and the need for specialist training for both writers and review teams. The need for these important documents, and the challenges surrounding the production of PLSPs will be discussed in this ESS, along with the medical writer’s role and perspectives.