Can medical English be easily understood?

A recent BBC Radio 4 programme, Inside Health, had an interesting piece about how medical or scientific English was very accurate but often not understood by end users, in this case patients.

This sums up an important issue for those of us interested in both accurate and engaging copy, especially for charities – be they medical, or not. How do you ensure that the copy you write is both easily digested by the reader and, at the same time, accurate?

The important thing to remember in any piece of communication is appropriateness. All communications should first analyse who the reader (or listener, or viewer is) and then be produced accordingly.

This might sound so obvious, but it is so easily overlooked. In busy organisations, there is often not the time to think over a document, blog post or website before it goes to the printers or is uploaded. The trick is to build in enough time to do some testing on your intended audience.

“The luxury of time”, though can be the difference between someone engaging with your charity’s website, for example, or for them clicking on something more interesting. So getting your words right, really might pay dividends.