Country music is about the plight of the everyday individual, laying out heartbreak, relationships, friendships, work and other aspects of life as a story – an adventure – for the listener to experience. It’s simply ‘Three Chords and the Truth’, as the late songwriting legend, Harlan Howard, once described.1
Ultimately, this philosophy is at the heart of our role as medical writers and communicators. Don’t believe us? Well, let’s face it: science is hard. Complex information flows as a cascade from the infinite depths of the literature; I hope you’ve got your 500m, because data don’t come with a shallow end. Healthcare professionals and patients need access to this information – but preferably not in a format which is on a par with a stream of consciousness from a parallel universe occupied only by the collective contents of the recycle bins from the desktops of all PCs that have ever existed.
Simply put, in nearly every project we take on, our job is to take information and present it in a more useful, accessible format – be it in a manuscript, patient leaflet, congress slide deck, whitepaper, or the copy on a website or app. What is ‘useful’ in this context? You guessed it: Three Chords and the Truth.
Information that’s relevant to the everyday individual, laid out in a coherent story. What information will help doctors treat these patients? How can we help these patients understand their conditions and treatment pathways? What information do we need to publish in this medical journal to bring benefit to medical researchers – advancing their understanding? What do they need?
I’ve told you once [G chord]; I’ve told you twice [C chord]: focus on people to make your med comms right.
Listen to Spinnie’s country playlist here.
- Country Scribe Harlan Howard Dies. Rolling Stone. Available at: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/country-scribe-harlan-howard-dies-197596/. Accessed January 2022.