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Syner-G Solutions To Navigating Medical Writing From Home

Syner-G Solutions To Navigating Medical Writing From Home

28 Mar 2024

28 March 2024 | Olivia Rivera, PhD and Yael-Natalie H Escobar, PhD

When COVID-19 shut down workplaces, remote work became the norm for many, including medical writers. Now, in a post-pandemic world, many medical writers continue working from home, finding their daily work tasks to be well suited for a remote environment. Yet, medical writers still face certain challenges associated with remote work including lack of engagement, community, and communication.

Below we discuss why medical writing flourishes in a remote environment, the challenges of writing remotely, and strategies the Medical Writing Services Team at Syner-G has implemented to navigate working from home.


Why is regulatory medical writing uniquely suited for working remotely?

Regulatory medical writers are skilled in shifting focus and adapting, and therefore, readily adjusted to a shift in the physical workplace. With projects dependent on clinical activities, statistical analyses, and the competitive pharmaceutical landscape, regulatory medical writers are often revising timelines and rearranging priorities. Familiarity and comfortability with accommodating change also extends from experience with adapting messaging across different types of documents, from in-depth dives into a single study or integrated summaries of safety or efficacy for a clinical program.

Regulatory medical writers are also well-prepared to face the sudden changes and potential distractions of working from home and maintaining productivity. In addition, this inherent flexibility is beneficial for collaboration in a remote work environment, where work hours can vary to accommodate busy schedules and different time zones.

Not only are the soft skills of regulatory medical writing suitable for remote work, but the technical tasks are readily accommodated in a home office. Regulatory medical writing requires efficient communication, which can easily be done with colleagues across the globe using voice and video chat, email, and messaging. The sources required to author regulatory documents (which include pre-programmed data packages, other clinical documents within a submission, and agency guidances) are electronically available and shareable. Furthermore, current technology allows for collaborative authoring, review, and editing, all of which can be done effectively without having to be in the same physical environment as a collaborator.

Challenges of being a remote medical writer

As mentioned before, regulatory medical writing is a collaborative process with input from several different groups: subject matter experts, project managers, internal reviewers, and coauthors, and we are uniquely suited to working from home. However, working from home can create its own issues such as decreased engagement and feeling a lack of community with coworkers. This is especially true for employees new to the role who were never in the office to begin with and have never interacted with their coworkers or supervisor in person. Furthermore, for for both new and experienced employees, it can be more difficult to spontaneously engage in conversation while working from home and communication can be less personal.

While the lack of community and open communication may not initially affect the quality of a document, it can eventually lead to some issues. Working from home means working in a more isolated environment which could potentially lead to the loss of best practices and create inconsistencies in the quality of work from individual writers and groups of writers. While this situation may not be unique to remote work, it can be exacerbated when working independently from coworkers.

Syner-G strategies for effective remote medical writing

Recognizing these challenges, Syner-G has implemented the following strategies to help medical writers succeed while providing the flexibility of remote work:

  • Education and engagement through a Lunch and Learn program. The Lunch and Learn program consists of a series of presentations that highlight important, novel, and timely topics relevant to the various services offered by Syner-G. It is a unique opportunity to collaborate, share, and learn from colleagues across the company. The program also allows individuals to be familiar with their colleagues’ expertise so they can better connect collaborators to the services that meet their needs.
  • Building a community through Making an Impact. Making an Impact is an initiative that connects Syner-G employees with their communities through outreach efforts and charity events. Syner-G supports this mission by offering flexible time off to participate in Making an Impact sponsored events and pursue volunteer work of an employee’s choice.
  • Communication and connection through Medical Writing Office Hours. The Medical Writing Services Team at Syner-G offers weekly Office Hours where medical writers connect with colleagues via video chat to discuss challenges ranging from technical issues to the content of an unfamiliar document. Each Office Hours session is led by a different mentor medical writer with various experience and document expertise. In addition to being a great learning opportunity, Office Hours offers Syner-G medical writers a chance to  connect with colleagues on a personal level.
  • Consistency and communication through documented best practices. Comprehensive documents on tips, tricks, and best practices, such as clean authoring practices, running a roundtable, and non-writing tasks, are a way for medical writers to pass on their knowledge and are helpful training resources. These documents are frequently referenced by new medical writers when authoring unfamiliar documents, as well as experienced medical writers who may be new to Syner-G and our best practices.

Working from home as a medical writer can be both liberating and challenging. As working remotely becomes a permanent practice for medical writers at Syner-G, we continue to embrace the challenges and identify new ways to overcome them. We hope these strategies help you as you navigate working from home.

About The Authors

Yael-Natalie H. Escobar, PhD

Yael is a Clinical Research Scientist I at Syner-G Biopharma Group, and she was a 2022 Medical Writing Fellow at Syner-G. Yael’s primary responsibilities include writing and conducting quality control checks of CSRs (Phase I and III), protocols, and other regulatory submissions documents and performing management tasks that accompany these projects. She received a PhD in Toxicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a year of postdoctoral training at The Ohio State University.

Olivia Rivera, PhD

Olivia Rivera, PhD, is a Clinical Research Scientist I at Syner-G Biopharma Group. She began her training as a Medical Writer in the Medical Writing Fellowship with Syner-G in 2022. Olivia’s experience includes writing and performing the project management tasks for clinical study reports, protocols, patient safety narratives, summary documents for INDs/NDAs, and other regulatory submission documents. She received her PhD in Biomedical Sciences from The Pennsylvania State University and completed over 2 years of postdoctoral training at the UNC Nutrition Research.