5 tips to hire a professional medical writer


Professional medical writing has slowly evolved into one of the most important subsets of general freelance writing. A good freelance medical writer is the final piece in the complex jigsaw that encapsulates medical device, life science and biotech industries, helping these companies on a multitude of layers. 

Kolabtree, in fact, witnessed a 50% spike in demand for freelance medical writers during the coronavirus pandemic. This lends credence to the debate that companies are embracing the rising shift to remote working, preferring to explore the vast world of freelance medical writers for their project requirements.

Why Professional Medical Writers Are Sought After

Hiring a freelance medical writer is a quicker and easier way for companies to get these jobs done and focus on product development and strategy. Hiring from Kolabtree’s network  of 7000+ professional medical writers, for instance, guarantees that they’re getting a highly qualified and carefully screened industry expert with niche expertise across the various aspects of professional medical writing.

Professional scientific writers need to be hired and integrated into the process right from the documentation stage. Once they’re brought into the fold, the writer can study the process and ease themselves into related activities, such as product or process descriptions, product positioning for the intended audience and/or reports aimed at obtaining the required licenses and approvals.

Professional medical writers can work on a wide range of services such as,

Regulatory Writing

Regulatory writers help businesses achieve global compliance and regulatory requirements, such as EU MDR or FDA’s code of federal regulations. Regulatory writers are heavily involved in the creation of documents such as information forms, surveys and guides that are essential for protocol, submission or licensing purposes.

Regulatory writers also provide services such as statistical analysis, clinical evaluation reports and FDA submissions for a wide range of industries, including biotech and life sciences.

Documents written by regulatory writers are utilized for a wide variety of purposes. An FDA 510K submission, for instance, is mandatory in order to mark the product safe and effective before obtaining clearance to go to market. Informed consent forms are commonly used to inform volunteers about the nature and potential end goal of clinical trials they’re participating in, whilst study protocols are used to outline the guidelines and objectives of a particular study.

Medical Content Writing

Medical content writers are perhaps best described as the ‘ultimate utility writer’ as far as professional medical writers go. They have a huge role to play across the breadth of the process, and can develop marketing, promotional and educational material for the target audience.

More significantly, medical content writers can help ensure your documents are accurate, detailed and resonate with your audience. The last part is especially important, since communicating your product’s distinct features and uses is imperative to making sure it reaches your target demographic and fulfils its purpose

Grant Writing

Professional medical writers also span myriad other categories, with one of the most popular ones being grant writing. Grant writers are a quickly growing subset of freelance medical writers due to their unique specialization in helping medical companies obtain grant funding for their projects. 

Grant writers conduct an exhaustive analysis of the project before drafting a unique proposal that captures the project’s objectives, identify a relevant grant that matches these objectives and craft a document that appeals to the grant funders. This makes good grant writers practically invaluable, since the grant their proposals attract could guarantee the future of the company or institution for several years. 

5 Tips to Hire a Professional Medical Writer

Narrow down on the specifics

A major takeaway from the first part of this article is the fact that there are a huge number of subsets and diversity when it comes to professional medical writers, and the first step to hiring is evaluating your requirements clearly. This will help you decide what kind of medical writer you want to hire, avoiding overlaps and eliminating potential disruptions down the line. Narrowing done on your exact specifications also helps you optimize your time and budget, a crucial aspect of the next stage of the process.

Allocate budgets and deadlines

Once you’ve decided on the type of medical writer you want to hire, you can start allocating a certain budget and deadline to the tasks that you’re hiring for. This will help you develop an additional filter whilst perusing portfolios and help you pick the right fit. Tailoring your talent hunt around your budget and deadline rather than the other way round also ensures consistency in your hiring process if you’re someone who posts external projects frequently, instead of having to align your budgets constantly each time you outsource.

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Scout the right platforms

This is perhaps the most crucial, yet most consistently overlooked, part of the hiring process when it comes to professional medical writing. Recruiters and businesses are so engrossed in following the usual hiring routes, such as LinkedIn or other networking sites, that they fail to scout medical writers on uniquely specialized platforms.

Websites like Kolabtree, for instance, house specialized medical writers looking for niche projects in their subject areas, helping you narrow down on the right fit without broad level filtering to get to these experts in the first place. This enables you to access a curated list of global, verified experts and shorten your hiring journey by 3 or 4 steps. You can subsequently pick and choose from these experts based on experience, budget and previous projects they’ve worked on.

Know your criteria 

As we’ve already established, medical writing is a vast and varied field with dynamic criteria making up the equation to hiring the perfect candidate. It’s important that you’re able to prioritize and categorize your requirements effectively. This will help accelerate the hiring process and ask the candidates the right questions, helping you pick the right one. 

These include the whole works, right from relevant experience, qualifications and proof of previous collaborations with businesses and projects similar to yours. The AMWA (American Medical Writers Association), for instance, have collaborated with the MWCC (Medical Writers Certification Commission) to authorize the Medical Writer Certified (MCC) credential that acts as a badge for distinguished and established writers in the field. If you’re specifically hiring for a regulatory writer, it might also be pertinent to check if the candidates have previous experience writing about FDA submissions etc.

While the platforms we’ve spoken about in the article do have all of this verified information listed in each freelancer’s profile, it’s still a good idea to ask these questions during the hiring process in order to help you rank the candidates on fine margins and help you hire the one most suited to your unique requirements.

Post a comprehensive project

If scouting a list of curated freelance medical writers personalized to your requirements still does not yield the best results, you might want to go ahead and post a detailed project on LinkedIn or one of the many freelance platforms available. This will generate a ‘pull’ effect of attracting more relevant candidates that you can subsequently interview and decide whether or not to hire.

Although there is no strict methodology to posting a project, there are several guidelines you can follow in order to hire the right person. First, make sure your project description is exhaustive and covers everything you want the writer to work on, so that there are no extended back and forth once the project is underway. Next, elaborate on the intended target audience, scope of the work and the purpose of the project, as well as the niche expertise and qualifications required.

This will help avoid irrelevant bids for your project and ensure you’re not overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of responses you receive from freelancers. Once you find suitable profiles, you can keep the hiring process going by following the steps mentioned earlier in terms of discussing budgets and deadlines until you find the perfect writer to take up the project.

Looking for a professional medical writer to take up projects on-demand? Post a project for free on Kolabtree or scout from a global network of verified, highly qualified medical writers.

Kolabtree helps businesses worldwide hire freelance scientists and industry experts on demand. Our freelancers have helped companies publish research papers, develop products, analyze data, and more. It only takes a minute to tell us what you need done and get quotes from experts for free.

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