What is biomedical communications?

Biomedical communication involves both  writing and  illustration.  Biomedical communicators are specialists with advanced training in life sciences, instructional design, writing, and graphic arts. They compose text and design visuals that impart medical and scientific information clearly, accessibly, and accurately. Professionals in these fields work with health care providers and subject matter experts to convey knowledge and information about healthcare to specific audiences like patients, surgeons, physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, medical students, and residents. Biomedical communicators work in a variety of settings related to health care, including:

  • Pharmaceutical companies 
  • Publishers
  • Creative agencies
  • Small businesses and freelance
  • Hospitals
  • Universities
  •  Medical device manufacturers
  • Biotechnology firms

Who creates the Writing and Illustrations?

Depending on the setting and the intended purpose of the project, writing and illustration tasks may be performed by the same person, separate people, or a whole team. Larger organizations often assign roles by medium, so that writers create the prose, and medical illustrators create the visuals. 

Medical Writers

Medical writers create text documents that function within a health care setting. These documents can include:

  • Reports and regulatory documents
  • Educational and promotional literature, such as brochures, flyers, and booklets
  • Manuscripts and abstracts that share research through publication in peer-reviewed journals
  • Content for health-related books, magazines, websites, and news articles
     

Medical Illustrators

Medical illustrators design visual resources that teach medical concepts and principles clearly and efficiently. Image-based communications are often desirable because they show:

  • The activities of structures that can’t readily be seen with the human eye—e.g., pharmaceuticals, proteins, viruses, and DNA
  • Processes that are difficult to see because they take place within the body— e.g., surgical procedures, and the actions of medical devices
  • Scenes that are complex and must be simplified to understand—e.g., surgical fields involving a lot of instruments and body fluids

Medical illustrations also enhance patient education by teaching through images instead of language. Images can bypass limitations imposed by reading difficulties, unfamiliarity with medical terminology or concepts, and low English comprehension.

medical illustration media 

Medical illustrators use skills in a variety of multimedia programs to create:

  • Illustrations and medical photographs for brochures, flyers, and posters
  • Figures for journal manuscripts and abstracts
  • Illustrations for books, magazines, websites, and news articles
  • Storyboards for instructional and promotional videos and animations
  • Virtual and printed 3D models of medical instruments and anatomical structures
  • Animations and instructional games that enhance learning in the classroom, the clinic, and online