Professional medical writing support improves the quality of clinical trial reporting, according to a study presented in London this week. The research shows that the number of pieces of important trial information reported in medical journal articles almost doubles when medical writers are involved in writing up the study for publication. “We all know from experience that medical writers include important information that can otherwise be missed,” comments Chris Winchester, Managing Director of Oxford PharmaGenesis, who was involved in the research, “but we believe our research is the first to demonstrate this.”
The study, which was presented at the 2015 European Meeting of ISMPP, used the widely valued CONSORT checklist to assess the quality of reporting of randomized controlled trials. Articles with medical writing support were significantly more likely to report at least 50% of CONSORT items completely than articles without writing support (39.1% vs 21.1% of articles; p < 0.05). As rated by peer reviewers, the proportion of articles with acceptable written English was higher in articles with medical writing support than in those without such support (79.6% vs 42.9%; p < 0.01). Interestingly, the median time from submission to acceptance was longer for articles with medical writing support than for those without support (167 vs 136 days; p < 0.01).
Commercial Director of Oxford PharmaGenesis and a co-author, Richard White, says, “We believe that these are the first objective data to show the value of medical writing. We hope that other medical communications professionals will also be bold and conduct studies that could demonstrate the valuable role that our profession plays.” The quality of the research was recognized by the ISMPP poster judging panel, which awarded the study the ‘Best in Original Research’ prize.