There are many different types of medical writing projects we get asked to do. Each different type of medical writing project has a specific purpose and potential audience. These types of medical writing projects can be for either technical or marketing documents. The types of medical writing projects can range from short social media posts to a medical textbook of hundreds of pages. They can be highly technical or simple, conversational explanations of medical or scientific ideas.
Prior to deciding on the types of medical writing projects you have, be clear on who your target audience is, your intended outcome and the type of message you want to convey. Some messages are better conveyed in words alone, while others need visual aids. Some types of medical writing projects have strict rules regarding formatting and what needs to be included, such as patent applications, grant proposals and journal articles. However, some types of medical writing projects allow full flexibility and creativity because they will essentially be self-published online.
Here, we explain several different types of medical writing projects we do and their purpose. We have also attached a hyperlink to an example of such a document to provide additional clarity; whenever possible, we linked to one we wrote or edited ourselves. We put this together in alphabetical order as a glossary.
Abstract – #1 on our list of types of medical writing
An abstract is a type of medical writing that is a short summary that is meant to give a brief overview of a scientific paper. It is usually on the first page and should give readers a general understanding of what the paper is about, without telling the entire scientific narrative. Abstracts may also be used as a “pitch” of sorts by authors who want to present their scientific research at a scientific conference.
Abstracts vary in length depending on the journal or conference that it is being submitted to, but they generally range from about 150 to 300 words. Below are some examples of scientific publication abstracts and conference abstracts.
Scientific publication abstract example – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31694261/
Conference abstract example – https://plan.core-apps.com/acs_sf20/abstract/ed0d22b4-afd8-4cdf-aba3-380898e8ab3c
Ad Copy – #2 on our list of types of medical writing
Ad copy or advertising copy is a type of marketing document that is used to attract the attention of potential customers. It seeks to highlight and promote the key features of a company, product or service. Because advertising copy is used to drive an individual to potentially purchase a product or service, there is an element of creativity needed when writing it.
Ad copy usually relies on psychological and emotional triggers to get customers to purchase. A key component of successful ad copy is convincing the potential customer that a product or service will solve a problem they have or provide a desired benefit. Historically, ad copy always came in written form. However, with the advent of technology, there are now many types of ad copy: written, audio, video and multimedia ad copy. All types of ad copy are meant to accomplish the same goal, they just rely on different mediums.
Amazon Description – #3 on our list of types of medical writing
An Amazon description or Amazon product description is a written introduction about a product listed for sale on Amazon. The purpose of the Amazon description is to highlight the key components of the product as well as its purpose and potential benefits and uses. The Amazon description is the only interface between a consumer and the product creator; therefore, it should contain all relevant information about a product so that potential customers do not have to search elsewhere to find information about the product.
Since Amazon has word limits though, the wording should be concise and to the point, with no fluff. The focus should be on the benefits of the product and what sets it apart from other similar products. Another important thing to keep in mind when writing Amazon descriptions is keywords. In order to ensure that a product gets highlighted in searches, it is important to include keywords that potential buyers may be typing into the search box.
Amendment – #4 on our list of types of medical writing
Amendments and corrections are types of documents that can be utilized to make necessary changes to existing published documents. At times in scientific and medical writings, errors slip through the oversight of the author and publisher. These errors are usually caught during the editorial review or revision process; both of which occur prior to publishing. However, once published, authors and/or publishers must submit an amendment or correction to change the published work.
The amendment or correction can be either an author or publisher correction. An author correction is usually a change or alteration in the mislabeling of a graph, or the incorrect units used in some type of visual representation. A publisher correction is usually a format issue or a mislabeled title that the publisher did not correct. Both types of these corrections are necessary to update published works online and in printed media. These amendments and corrections are necessary to ensure that adequate scientific and medical knowledge is being appropriately communicated to the scientific and medical community.
In the amendment, the author refers to the original document, the date of publication, and describes the necessary correction. The date of the amendment publication and the subsequent new publication is also reflected.
Author amendment example – https://www.nature.com/articles/s41565-020-0718-1
Publisher amendment example – https://www.nature.com/articles/s41565-020-0756-8
Article – #5 on our list of types of medical writing
A scientific and medical article is the most basic and broad category of medical writing. These articles are publications that are based upon evidence which supports research: they can also describe some scientific or medical trend. The purpose of an article is to disseminate some type of information to a broad audience.
There are many different types of scientific and medical articles, but primary, secondary, specialized, featured and web are a few common ones. These articles vary vastly but usually are comprised of a headline, introduction, body, discussion, and conclusion.
Primary articles include case reports, case studies, technical notes, and original research articles. Secondary articles primarily include review articles. Specialized articles also include information such as editorials, communications, commentaries, letters to the editor, opinions, and protocols. Specialized articles with deviate from this structure by adding or removing specific elements. Specialized articles can also be utilized for specific purposes, which will depend upon the author’s goal and target audience. Additionally, there are different levels of flexibility in formats depending upon the type of article written.
Featured articles tend to be for magazine publication. Web articles are for websites, blogs and social media. Research articles have a more defined and specific structure, whereas educational or informative articles have a flexible and creative outline. Prior to choosing the type of article to be written, decide what you are trying to convey and who your target audience is. This allows the writer to tailor the article complexity and depth.
Article example – https://www.fitnistics.com/natural-ways-to-help-boost-your-energy/
Biography – #6 on our list of types of medical writing
A biography or a bio sketch is a description of an individual’s life. Biographies are more detailed than a curriculum vitae because they portray an individual’s life experiences and effect on them as a person. A biography is more than just basic facts of an individual, but the complete picture of a person with their inner thoughts and personality quirks.
Biographies that are written by the individual themselves are called autobiographies. Science or medical bio sketches specifically seek to depict a scientist or physician’s work, thought leadership, scientific research, and medical endeavors. Biographies can also demonstrate how individuals went about solving a scientific problem or issue of their time, or even the challenges they had to overcome in order to obtain a certain level of scientific success. Scientific biographical information will also include necessary information about an individual’s awards, scientific achievements, and publications.
Biography example – https://www.biography.com/scientist/mary-winston-jackson
Blog Post – #7 on our list of types of medical writing
A blog post is a type of article that is posted on a blog. Blog articles are usually written in an informal style and typically do not have a well-defined structure. Most blogs will combine text, digital images, website hyperlinks, and other media into the post. Blogs often allow for readers to leave anonymous or signed comments under the post.
There are many subtypes of blogs depending upon the type of media utilized. Most blogs are text-based with other types of mediums integrated; however, there are also blogs that just consist of a video. These are called video blogs or vlogs. Audio blogs are called podcasts, and photograph blogs are called photoblogs.
Due to the informal nature of a blog, individuals post commentary about a variety of subjects. Depending on the type of blog, some may be more opinion based than factual.
Book – #8 on our list of types of medical writing
A book is a collection of written or visual work bound together, and it can be intellectually dense requiring a moderate amount of time to read. Often a book is an amalgamation of a specific topic or subject. Books are separated based on their content largely whether they are fiction or non-fiction.
In a medical and scientific setting, most books written are referenced material explaining some complex medical or scientific idea. Generally, the books written on medical and scientific topics are considered non-fiction. A book can exist as a single body of work, or as a component of a serial publication in a volume set.
Book designs tend to have a general structure which begins with a table of contents, introduction, and then the body of the book. As technology has improved, many hardcover and paperback books have been transitioned to an electronic format called, “e-book”.
Booklet – #9 on our list of types of medical writing
A booklet is a specialized type of book that is characterized by its thin and brief content. A booklet is usually used as a program or marketing promotional material. Booklets have a small page count typically between 10 and 30 pages; hence, their sole purpose is usually to convey a single program or product.
Booklets are like brochures; nonetheless, booklets contain a bit more information than a brochure. A booklet is often easy to mail because of its small size, and this is the reason marketing departments rely on them for promotional purposes. These booklets are utilized to promote a new product, service, or potential item. In the scientific and medical field booklets are often used for specific information on a product or service.
Book Chapter – #10 on our list of types of medical writing
A book chapter is a component or a division of a book. A book may have several chapters or sections, which are then delineated by a specific topic. Books also may encompass a larger topic and subject; in comparison, the book chapters are specific components of that larger topic.
Since books are usually information-dense, book chapters allow an individual to read a specific section suited to their interest. In the medical and scientific field, a book chapter is often written by specialized individuals in that field. For example, a book on nanopharmaceuticals may have the chapters organized based on the different classes of pharmaceutical drugs. In this case, each chapter is written by a subject matter expert in that specific class of pharmaceutical drug.
Book chapter example – https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-94-007-0834-1_18#page-1
Brochure – #11 on our list of types of medical writing
A brochure is typically an informative document about a specific product or service. A medical brochure usually describes a disease or ailment. This type of brochure will provide information on the facts of the disease, the signs and symptoms, treatment options, preventative efforts, and statistics on the disease.
The information in a brochure usually utilizes pictorial representations to relay messages in a user-friendly manner. A brochure is often a single page of material, sometimes folded in different ways such as bifold and trifold.
Case Report – #12 on our list of types of medical writing
A medical case report is a document which details the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and signs of a patient. A case report is usually prepared to share clinical guidelines with the medical and scientific community. It is often that a case report is written to highlight some unexpected event or association between a patient and disease.
Additionally, medical case reports are commonly written to highlight a new perspective on the possible pathogenesis of a disease. Case reports typically lack statistical sampling because they are usually written to highlight something unexpected; therefore, case reports are considered anecdotal evidence.
They are helpful in the medical community because they may identify new potential mechanisms to treat diseases or even highlight adverse treatment effects. One of the key benefits of case reports is that it allows others in the scientific and medical community to generate different study hypotheses based on a possible connection or etiology of a disease.
Case report example – https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ccr3.3288
Comment – #13 on our list of types of medical writing
A comment or commentary article is written to call attention to some political, ethical, or social issue present in scientific research. Oftentimes, comment pieces are highly provocative to spark discussion and act as a call to action. Comment pieces can range from discussing common statistical errors present in biological research to how governments and cities need to build stronger healthcare infrastructure to combat pandemics.
Comment example – https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02547-3
Compendium – #14 on our list of types of medical writing
A compendium is a collection of information about a specific body of knowledge. A medical compendium is usually written to highlight a specific medical practice, or innovative health technology. In science, a research compendium is often a document which contains a scientific publication in addition to the data and documentation needed to reproduce that entire scientific process.
Content – #15 on our list of types of medical writing
Content is slang for anything found on the internet – ranging from articles, blog posts and social media posts to e-books, white papers and videos.
Continuing Medical Education – #16 on our list of types of medical writing
CMEs or continuing medical education courses refers to any type of educational materials that licensed professionals in the medical field utilize to review existing information and learn new information. Healthcare professionals must continually learn as technology, research and guidelines change, and they can utilize CMEs to accomplish this task.
CMEs can be live in-person or virtual events, presentations, written publications, videos, demonstrations, documents, online courses and various other types of content. In the United States, it is required for medical professionals to take CME courses at certain intervals in order to maintain their medical licenses.
E-Book – #17 on our list of types of medical writing
An e-book or electronic book is simply a book that is in a digital format. The only difference between an electronic book and a physical book is the medium utilized. An electronic book can be found on various types of electronic readers or PDF forms, and it can exist on its own without a physical equivalent. An electronic book has the advantage of not taking up the same amount of space as a physical book; additionally, electronic books utilize less resources than their physical counterparts.
E-book example – https://www.amazon.com/Metabolism-com-ebook/dp/B006S2LY9U
Editorial – #18 on our list of types of medical writing
An editorial is a type of article that is written solely to inform or educate. Editorials are not written for any type of commercial intent, and they are often opinion pieces highlighting something specific. An editorial piece can be a comment on systemic issues in science, or how a pandemic has created issues in cancer prevention and prognosis.
Editorial example – https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/37/eabd7487
Email Template – #19 on our list of types of medical writing
An email template is a document that has a preformed style, layout, and text. A template is used when an individual has a common correspondence utilized often. By using a template, an individual can avoid typing, creating, and designing the same type of email each time. With a template, an individual can just change the necessary information that is subject matter specific.
Email templates are used frequently for marketing campaigns where newsletters, cold email introductions are sent out to a recipient list.
Email Series – #20 on our list of types of medical writing
An email series is an email that is sent out based on some predefined criteria. The emails are often sent out on some type of trigger or time-based criteria. An example of time-based criteria is when an email is sent out at 9:00 am every Friday. An example of trigger-based criteria is when an email is sent out after someone signs up for some type of trial or service.
Endorsement – #21 on our list of types of medical writing
An endorsement is a type of public approval, whether in support of a product, service, individual, organization, institution or idea. Many of our clients want a doctorate level medical scientist to review their product, service, business or idea and provide a written or video endorsement. A doctor endorsement for a medical or health-related product or service lends credibility.
Endorsement example – https://www.prosolutionpills.com/
Flyer – #22 on our list of types of medical writing
A flyer is a type of advertisement that is used to bring attention to an individual, business, organization, event or promotion. Flyers are usually a single page that uses pictorial representations to be highly effective.
Grant Proposal – #23 on our list of types of medical writing
A grant is a type of monetary fund that is distributed to an institution or individual for many different purposes. Scientific and medical research is often funded via grants, and they are normally obtained through a highly competitive process, in which proposals on different research projects are evaluated and the most promising one(s) wins the grant funding. Scientific grants are often given to a business, individual, educational institution, or non-profit organization from a government, corporation, or a foundation.
Grant proposal example – https://www.niaid.nih.gov/sites/default/files/1-R01-AI121500-01A1_Gordon_Application.pdf
Guide – #24 on our list of types of medical writing
A guide is a type of document that gives information, advice, instructions, or references. Two of the most common guides used in the medical and scientific community are user guides and reference guides. A user guide is written to give assistance to individuals using a system. For example, many scientific instruments come with a user guide to assist in their utilization and troubleshooting. A reference guide on the other hand is a detailed reference of any authors whose work was cited for a publication. There are also guides as website articles that are long compilations of how to do something.
Guide example – https://themedwriters.com/medical-manuscript-writing-guide/
Landing page – #25 on our list of types of medical writing
In the context of websites, a landing page is the destination page that appears after an individual click on a search engine link or advertisement. Landing pages are designed to be highly relevant, high quality, and satisfy the user’s intent. They are usually separate from a company’s main website and have a specific marketing purpose – usually to sell one product or service, driving the reader to buy, book an appointment or some other similar action.
Letter – #26 on our list of types of medical writing
A scientific letter is a short description of current research findings, and it is usually fast-tracked for publication because the information is considered urgent. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many scientific letters were fast-tracked to disseminate new research findings out to the medical community.
Letter example – https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1610-8
Long-Form Sales Letter – #27 on our list of types of medical writing
A long form sales letter is a very detailed and long sales letter that is utilized to entice individuals to purchase a product. A long form sales letter will explain the product or service in detail as well as all the benefits of the potential product or service. One of the key components of a long-form sales letter is the CTA or call to action, The call to action is the step that the marketing team would like the user to take, and it usually leads an individual to the link to purchase the product.
Long form sales letter example – http://laserperiodontaltherapy.blogspot.com/
Meta-Analysis – #28 on our list of types of medical writing
A meta-analysis is a type of study design utilized to assess the results of previous scientific studies. A meta-analysis observes different types of scientific and medical studies that seek to answer or address the same question. A meta-analysis is utilized to bring about statistical significance to a group of studies that may have conflicting results.
Meta-analysis example – https://www.nature.com/articles/s41416-020-01060-8
Newsletter – #29 on our list of types of medical writing
A scientific newsletter is a type of report that contains relevant news about a scientific discipline or topic, which is disseminated to customers, members, employees, or other subscribers. For example, a newsletter could talk about recent advances in cancer research and treatments for Alzheimer’s. We write newsletter articles and content for all types of businesses in the medical, scientific and healthcare fields.
Newsletter example – https://www.nature.com/articles/jhg199137
Opinion – #30 on our list of types of medical writing
A scientific opinion piece is a subjective viewpoint on an issue. Scientific opinion pieces are often published in highly respected scientific journals. Despite being a subjective opinion piece, these opinion pieces are still subject to peer review and professional editing. Most scientific opinion pieces are about a topic that has conflicting or uncertain origins, and there is no accepted scientific consensus. Scientific opinion pieces may also be at odds with the overall scientific consensus or current medical guidelines.
Opinion example – https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02541-9
Pamphlet – #31 on our list of types of medical writing
A pamphlet is a small unbound book that has at least five pages but no more than 48 pages. Pamphlets are used in many marketing operations because of their ease of distribution. A medical pamphlet is often utilized to give potential patients and customers necessary information about the business distributing it. Medical pamphlets provide information about the services a medical practice or medical health network provides, for example.
Patent Application – #32 on our list of types of medical writing
A patent application is a formal legal document that is used to request a patent for an invention. A patent application is divided up into many different types of applications each with their own unique benefits. There is a standard patent application, provisional patent application, continuation application, and divisional application. Central to a patent application is the patent specification; in fact, the patent specification details the specific invention and the scope of protection.
The patent specification will also include information on the background of the invention, a description, and a brief summary. Patent applications are submitted to a patent office and are published 18 months after the priority date of the application.
Patent application example – https://patents.google.com/patent/US20190209634A1
Poster – #33 on our list of types of medical writing
A scientific or medical poster is a type of communication medium that relies on written information and visual aids combined with verbal presentation. These types of mediums are for a small group of people due to the size in range of poster view; therefore, these types of posters are often utilized at large scientific conferences to highlight specific research findings. Medical posters are designed to be highly informative and eye-catching.
PowerPoint Presentations – #34 on our list of types of medical writing
PowerPoint is a software presentation program that allows users to create slides for presentations. PowerPoint allows the integration of text, graphics, video, and audio to create innovative and informative presentations.
Product Description – #35 on our list of types of medical writing
A product description is a type of communication that explains what a product or service is, and why customers should purchase it. Product descriptions are the only medium of communication between a buyer and seller; therefore, product descriptions must be highly informative regarding features and benefits of a service/product. The goal of a product description is to compel an individual to buy a service or product.
Proposal – #36 on our list of types of medical writing
A scientific research proposal is a document that outlines the necessary steps of a proposed research idea. A research proposal outlines what the research is, how the research will be conducted. and why the research is important. A scientific research proposal will contain a title, abstract, introduction, literature review, research hypothesis, materials, methods, conclusions, and justifications.
A research proposal also helps an individual structure their proposed research. A grant proposal similarly outlines a project that the grant funding being applied for will be used to accomplish if awarded.
Proposal example – https://www.urop.uci.edu/SURP/sample_proposals/SURP%20Bio%20Sci%201.pdf
Press Release – #37 on our list of types of medical writing
A press release is a short official statement that is delivered to the public for the purpose of providing information, and it can also be used to make an announcement that is relevant to an organization. A press release is often short, succinct, and written in everyday language. Since a press release is about providing information to the public, it is necessary to avoid overly technical terminology.
A press release is utilized to announce new products, services, events, organizational partnerships, executive promotions, awards, clinical trials, clinical trial successes, drug formulations hitting the market, FDA approvals, mergers, and acquisitions.
Protocol – #38 on our list of types of medical writing
A scientific protocol is a written procedure that is utilized in the implementation and design of an experiment. A protocol will explain step by step how to do a particular laboratory method to ensure replication of results. A protocol is necessary so that an experiment can be reviewed through a peer-review process.
Protocols will detail the equipment and experiments utilized, the study objectives, any potential organisms or animal models utilized, safety precautions, and statistical analysis. The protocol will also explain how the results were collected and calculated. Finally, protocols help organizations remain consistent with a specified standard to ensure safety and accurate results.
Publication Roundup – #39 on our list of types of medical writing
A research roundup or pub roundup, as it sometimes called, is a document or press release that highlights new research that has been conducted in an area by individuals in that organization. For example, in many research departments, there will be a monthly research roundup which highlights relevant research in that area or research that has been done by faculty, graduate students, or postdocs at that specific institution.
Publication roundup example – https://brainupdate.nih.gov/2020/04/07/brain-publication-roundup-april-2020/
Report – #40 on our list of types of medical writing
A scientific report is a document that explains an outcome of a research or scientific problem. A scientific report will guide the reader through why the research was done, the purpose of the research, and the methods utilized in any discussion of the results. The typical structure of a scientific report has a title, abstract, introduction, experimental design, results, conclusion, discussion, and references, and it allows individuals to replicate the experiment if necessary or critique any components of the study design.
A medical report differs from a scientific report in that a medical report covers a person’s clinical history. A medical report will also include lab test results, medical images, history of treatments, documentation of different diagnosis, documentation of medications, history of hospitalization, and physical and mental examinations. There are many types of reports we have written for different types of organizations.
Report example – https://www.nature.com/articles/gt200960#Sec10
Review – #41 on our list of types of medical writing
A scientific review is an article that assess the current knowledge of a field or topic. Usually reviews compile knowledge from no more than 5 years ago. A review can also serve as the starting point for individuals trying to learn about a topic because the reviewer will summarize the research. A review usually has between 50 to 150 sources, with majority of those being new sources to be reviewed and highlighted.
Review example – https://www.mdpi.com/2079-4991/7/5/94
Safety Policy – #42 on our list of types of medical writing
A safety policy is an organization’s statement that they are committed to the health and safety of their employees. A safety policy includes how to safely handle different chemical and controlled substances, delegation and responsibility of authority, the necessary workplace training, what to do in the event of an accident, risk assessments, and steps to maintain the maintenance of different equipment. Occupational health and safety acts require all employers to implement a safety policy.
Safety policy example – https://themedwriters.com/covid-employee-safety-policy/
Slide Deck – #43 on our list of types of medical writing
Slide deck is a collection of slides that have a consistent format, and they are listed together to tell a narrative. A slide is a single page of a PowerPoint presentation. Slide deck is just slang for a PowerPoint presentation that has a sales pitch.
Slide deck example – https://www2.slideshare.net/bajangal/the-med-writers-capabilities-briefing-239322619
Systematic Review – #44 on our list of types of medical writing
Systematic review aims to identify relevant medical studies that deal with a health issue and critically evaluate the studies. A systematic review is a literature review that is often so in depth that it is quicker starting a completely different study. These types of study provide a complete summary of current evidence around a health or medical issue.
Thought Leadership Piece – #45 on our list of types of medical writing
A thought leader is an individual or organization that has specialized recognition in a field. A thought leader is usually sought out for their expertise. A thought leadership piece is an article, blog post or some other document with some novelty to it and in-depth knowledge about ideas in its field.
Technical Sheets – #46 on our list of types of medical writing
Technical sheets or technical data sheets are data that is used to provide necessary information about a product or service. A technical data sheet is usually written by a manufacturer to help individuals become familiar with a product and its specifications.
Video Script – #47 on our list of types of medical writing
A video script is a layout of the scenes, action, and dialogue in a video. A video script is helpful in order to structure a video and not begin filming haphazardly. Prior to writing the actual visual script, you must identify your audience, the goals, the character, and the purpose of the video.
Video script example – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCCVq-H2TpU
Video Sales Letter (VSL) – #48 on our list of types of medical writing
A video sales letter is a video that is used to persuade an audience to purchase a product or service. Video sales letters are like a written sales letter, except they are in video format. It is often preferential to utilize a video sales letter compared to a written sales letter due to the visual aspect of the medium. It is important to capture the audience’s interest in the first 30 seconds of the visual because it is difficult to skip around a video for necessary information compared to skimming a written sales letter.
Webinar – #49 on our list of types of medical writing
A webinar is a live seminar given online. Attendees join via the internet using their browser or a video conferencing software like WebEx, Zoom or Meet. A webinar is slightly different from a webcast in that a webinar usually requires joining some organization or signing up for the webinar to get the login information; whereas, with a webcast, individuals can join immediately from their web browser without any necessary downloads or sign ups.
White Paper – #50 on our list of types of medical writing
A white paper is a type of document or report that seeks to inform about a specific topic or issue. A white paper is slightly different from a scientific research paper in that a white paper is usually written by a company or organization. Typically, with a white paper the subject matter can be subjective due to the individual writing about a topic from the angle of the company they work for.
The goal of a white paper is largely persuasive, sometimes with a full sales pitch and call to action. A white paper usually has a sales motive, and it persuades the reader to reach a specific conclusion based on the angle that it was written. White papers are helpful specifically when customers want to compare a few types of products or services. The information in the white paper is true and factual; however, it is written with persuasive intent.
White paper example – https://www.curamedix.com/whitepaper-what-is-shock-wave