Lay Summary – A New Phase of Publication

by | Feb 18, 2022 | Publication Writing, Scientific Writing

“What is the side effect of paracetamol? Why can’t my kid get vaccinated? Which vaccine is more effective?” The patients and worried parents are looking all over on internet to treasure trove the answers to these questions. In such a scenario and many of its likes, Google becomes the go-to database for information, but it unfortunately leads to misinformation, misdiagnosis, spurious remedies, all heading to graver damage to health. And hence it becomes imperative to verify any scientific information from authentic databases and validated documents.

In an era of Covid, when every message, blog, news piece, article, all and sundry were talking about it, there was clearly a realization amongst the more aware ones, to lean on more scientifically accurate information. And it urged them to grab published articles for perusal. But the language and terminology of these documents made it arduous for them to comprehend and find what they were looking for. This informed curiosity and interest of laymen towards learning scientific facts and guidelines encouraged Patient Lay Summaries to find their place in the world of Publication and Research.

Patient Lay Summary Explained

Lay Summary is an abstract-like content or summary where complex scientific/medical/clinical information from published research articles is represented in a lucid way to cater to an audience who may or may not have any subject knowledge or scientific background. The difficult terms and methods are made easier to understand and implement and ensure that correct information goes to the reader. According to EMA, all clinical studies need to have a lay summary and should be prepared within one year.

Call for Lay Summary

The main aim of a lay summary is to answer questions of the public regarding studies or research. The basic need of lay summary is awareness to the widest possible audience. If the correct information reaches people in their own language, they can relate to it. This will increase the quality of medical research as patients will be encouraged to contribute and be partners in decision making. Talking about risk management of medicine and trials, these documents provided transparency and a clear vision to the public and are highly appreciated by patient advocacy groups. A lay summary is not only beneficial for the public but also for researchers as a way to take their work out of the room of the scientific fraternity and reach a broader generic audience. A brilliant chance to go out of the box and get attention!

But these documents are themselves a dare to write and this dare is given to medical writers.

Writing for Lay

The medical writers hold the responsibility of informing and educating patients in a way that can alter their decisions. Words can direct a reader on the journey of good health and wise choices. But how to find a midway between writing a The medical writers hold the responsibility of informing and educating patients in a way that can alter their decisions. Words can direct a reader on the journey of good health and wise choices. But how to find a midway between writing a simple and educational document? Try to seat yourself in the mind of a patient and imagine what he or she needs to learn.

Here are some key points you need to follow while drafting

  • A good Lay summary should be able to answer questions like:
  1. What was the study about?
  2. Who Participated in the study?
  3. What were the main results?
  4. Detail about the side effects etc.
  • Writer can use words or terminologies which are more homespun to patients like using brand names and not the salts.
  • Use of infographics, charts, tables, and graphs to make the data more understandable as the images will easily attract them and look at more key facts.
  • Lay summary will be a map for the patients and decide what to choose or not. So, the data and details should be relevant and not just a random collection of facts.
  • Patients are reading something to find -what after that? So, don’t forget to explain the impact of your research or review.
  • Specialized language, jargon should be avoided as it will only confuse the reader.
  • Start using the first person in your sentence formation as if you are conversing with a reader like ‘we decided’ and not ‘that was decided’.
  • A well-written lay summary should be published in a way that there should not be any wall between your work and readers. From social media to sponsor’s website, where all to publish this new type of publication document, should be on your list. To know more visit

Down the Road

In a world where every piece of information is one click away, documents like lay summaries are catching momentum; it is the new face of Publication. According to surveys and reports, maximum internet searches encompass health-related guidance. Thereby, it is the need of hours to provide correct, complete and accurate educational information to patients. Social media plays a crucial role in transporting whatever comes in front, right or wrong and medical-writers are in a way, guards of true and authorized knowledge. In the coming years, publication will be all about reaching every corner and a lay summary is not just a right of patients but also the only route to read the right.