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If you have been looking into a career in medical writing or medical communications then it is likely you have seen the terms used interchangeably.

But are they the same thing?

What is medical communications?

What is medical communications?

Medical communications is an all-encompassing term that includes all the ways medical science and information about healthcare products is communicated and disseminated.

This includes the three main ways anything is communicated:

  • Written materials – journal articles, application notes, press releases, patient information books, website content, PowerPoint decks, and other written forms of marketing material.
  • Video – YouTube and webinars are prime examples.
  • Audio – podcasts and radio shows are a common example of this.

Thus someone working in medical communications could be working a varied number of roles. And while medical communications as a profession has roots in the pharmaceutical industry where medical affairs professionals are needed to ensure that drugs and medical devices adhere to the regulations set forth by governmental organizations like the US Food and Drug Administration, medical communications professionals now work in other spaces such as for hospital systems, biotech companies, and marketing agencies that focus on the biotech/biopharma/pharmaceutical industry.

What is medical writing?

Medical writing is a specific subfield of medical communications that focuses on the creation of written materials. Both medical communications professionals and medical writers may be involved in creating and disseminating information, but medical writers are specifically focused on the creation of written materials.

Does this mean medical writers spend their days only writing? While a majority of your work as a medical writer will involve writing, it is not the only thing you’ll do. I wrote another post where I answered what other tasks you can expect to be involved in as a medical writer.

And to make things more interesting, medical writers can come in different flavors! Read this post on the 5 different types of medical writing you can go into.