Anju Software recently attended and exhibited at the ISMPP EU 2020. The meeting theme, Precision Communication: Achieving Clarity, Reach and Value reflects ISMPP’s expanded mission and vision to include all aspects of scientific communications and highlights the increasing need for personalization of communications to ensure the needs of all stakeholders are met in a world where medicine itself is ever-individualizing.
With 350 attendees at this year’s ISMPP EU meeting, it was the largest to date- surpassing the record-breaking attendance of the 2018 and 2019 meetings. Along with the phenomenal attendance and engagement from both industry and solution providers alike, the content of this year’s meeting did not disappoint.
Much of our field in Medical Affairs, and most specifically in Scientific Publications, remains focused on the impact that data and analytics can have on their efforts in informing clinical behavior and extending the reach of their research. Innovative practices like video abstracts, augmented reality posters, and other cutting-edge digital offerings are changing the landscape and audience profiles of scientific publications, which are now accessible and being read by an informed, empowered patient population. Plain language summaries and their adoption as communication vehicles continue to be at the forefront of this discussion.
The ISMPP-EU session on Plain Language Summaries (PLS) offered a forum for continued discourse on the topic and offered insight into whether these types of publications are necessary and useful. In a survey conducted on PLS, most patients interviewed saw their value, whereas physicians were equivocal about their relevance, but said they would use them in patient engagement. As the discipline around PLS matures, most agree that these summaries increase transparency, provide opportunities to explain data to a non-expert, and allow patients to make better decisions regarding their disease management.
Currently, not many organizations are creating plain language summaries, and the session offered guidance for those interested in undertaking the discipline. Fundamental to the practice of developing these types of publications is a principle that we on the Anju Publications Team embrace-beginning with the end in mind.
The session presenters recommended while developing a publication strategy to identify those manuscripts that would benefit from a PLS, then engage compliance and establish guardrails for the content, process, and production for such publications. Other strategies for implementing a success PLS practice include:
- Considering the audience of plain language summaries and engage a patient steering committee to focus on what matters most to potential readers. The goal is not to dilute the science, but rather to make the science more accessible to a different group of information consumers.
- Training medical writers to adopt a more journalistic, less technical approach to developing the scientific narrative for patients and engaging non-scientists in the review and approval process to ensure reader comprehension.
- Ensuring that the PLS is aligned with the manuscript it supports and submit it to the journal at the same time as the manuscript, along with a cover letter to the editor explaining its value and recommending its publication outside the journal’s normal paywall.
As we begin to see these types of publications evolve and become more commonplace, we must challenge ourselves at Anju to adapt our technology to support the practice, and look for ways to identify how we can assist our customers in reaching this new audience and increasing the impact of their science on clinical behavior and patient outcomes.
In all, ISMPP-EU was a successful meeting and provided many opportunities for learning and thought-provoking and forward-looking discussions with current clients and prospective customers. We look forward to the upcoming next year’s meeting in London, as well as the upcoming ISMPP Annual Meeting in April, as ISMPP continues to host the preeminent conferences in our field.