Digital features have become an integral part of many medical publications. While publishers have been adapting to this shift, clinical researchers and pharma in general have been slower to embrace the change. Many authors aren’t sure how to integrate digital features into their publications, or remain unconvinced that these features offer significant benefits. On the pharma side, compliance issues may present additional challenges.
Developing robust publications that integrate digital enhancements is becoming more and more common, as they tend to broaden the range of audiences as well as address the learning preference of a digitally savvy generation of medical professionals. One study found that articles with digital features were downloaded 88% more than those that offered no digital enhancements.
Digital Enhancements for Medical Publications
In the first article on digital features for medical publications, we addressed the benefits of digitally enhanced medical publications. This article covers the many digital enhancements that are available today.
Video and Visual Abstracts
In a video abstract, the speaker describes the highlights of a study. The topic is introduced and key takeaways described. Often, the speaker provides additional insights, and may frame the study as a narrative or pose a question to generate discussion.
Video abstracts aren’t a dull recitation of facts. They can be an exciting, intriguing addition to the traditional publication that builds interest in the topic. Videos entice readers to explore new subjects and connect viewers with the study’s authors.
Visual abstracts summarize data in an easy-to-digest format. They present facts and statistics using eye-catching graphics. These visuals are easy to share on social media and capture the attention of a diverse group of readers, outperforming text-based headlines. Often, visual abstracts prompt readers to seek out more information and access the full publication.
Digital, Narrated, and Interactive Posters
Unlike traditional posters, digitally enhanced posters offer a wealth of features. Viewers might zoom in or click between different segments. The poster may also include animations, embedded links, slideshows, videos, or voice-over narration. This dynamic content can be eye-catching and engaging.
Digitally enhanced posters help distill complex research data. Graphics, charts, and videos allow healthcare providers (HCPs) to absorb the material quickly. These posters also encourage social sharing and boost the reach of the study outcomes.
Author Videos and Podcasts
With author videos and podcasts, researchers can discuss their findings in depth. These features often use a conversational format, replicating the informal nature of a Q&A session. Listeners and viewers don’t have to wade through pages of dense research. Instead, they can enjoy these features on the go.
Many HCPs enjoy listening to podcasts while driving. Others watch videos during their lunch break or between appointments. These digital features capitalize on HCPs’ ”downtime.”
QR Codes and Microsites
With QR codes, users can quickly navigate to their chosen website or obtain their own copy of a publication. Often, QR codes lead to a microsite or a small webpage that discusses the topic in greater detail. QR codes can be leveraged to guide readers toward new research. Microsites also drive traffic toward special events, videos, podcasts, and more.
Embedded links provide a seamless reading experience. Readers aren’t forced to shift attention away from an article to type a URL. Instead, they simply click on the link within the text. Readers then access additional data, valuable references, and author websites. Like QR codes, embedded links are a great way to meet web traffic and readership goals.
Many publications already offer plain-language summaries. Digital features can bring plain-language summaries to the forefront in a patient-centric era. These summaries can be included in posters, videos, microsites, and more. QR codes and embedded links can also provide a launchpad, guiding readers in the right direction.
Challenges to the Introduction of Digital Features in Medical Publications
Although digitally enhanced publications are here to stay, there is still a substantial amount of medical research being published without digital features. Reasons for this are varied and may include: insufficient information regarding the journals that allow these features, and their specific requirements; lack of knowledge to select the most effective digital enhancements for each publication type; absence of expertise to develop them; lack of time, as it adds to the daily tasks; cost concerns; and concerns about how those features can be implemented within existing standard procedures for review and approval of medical publications.
Free Webinar on Digital Publications
With so many digital features available to enhance publications, which are the ones that are worth your investment? Let us help you establish priorities and kick-start your journey into the visual and digital era of medical publications. Register now to join the free webinar.
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Aptitude Health offers digital solutions for life science companies across the globe. We can help your organization develop digitally enhanced publications in a cost-effective manner. Our team includes medical publication professionals specialized in the areas of hematology and oncology, as well as multimedia professionals and graphic designers.
Multimedia features offered by Aptitude Health include
Contact us to learn more about our publication services and how visual and digital tools increase educational value and improve user experience of medical publications.