The importance of language is a critical issue for European or Global Medical Information operations. With the predominant use of English as the language for clinical information exchange, how acceptable is it to send letters in English to healthcare professionals in countries like Germany?

The nirvana is for all regional or global medical information responses to be in just one or maybe two languages. Just think of the cost savings and efficiency – consistency guaranteed.

But how realistic is this?

Sabina Lischka-Wittmann, Senior Manager Medical Information, Lilly GmbH updated us on her market research on written responses on the use of an analgesic in fibromyalgia with 22 physicians and pharmacists in Germany.

Many of the results could be predicted but now it can be confirmed. Healthcare professionals want letters with a clear summary, well presented clinical information and appropriate use of graphs and tables.

What was especially interesting was that they wanted the letter summary and a covering letter separate so they could file away the main clinical information. They expected to get a letter in German although the articles could be in English. Disclaimer paragraphs about copyright and data privacy, that are added to letters, caused confusion.

It just goes to show that Plain English and customer education are still necessary!