Clinical research is on a surge with pharmaceutical industry and academicians working towards newer technologies in diagnosis and treatment, newer drugs as a result large, amount of data as applications to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the innumerable research papers being published annually. The problem arises in the significant amount of time that is required to read through the data available such as protocols, reports, brochures, manuscripts, and several other regulatory and marketing publications thus adversely affecting both the writer and the reviewer in terms of investment of time, resources, funds and storage whereas this time can be utilized for other pivotal task.
Writers and reviewers are at constant wits end with the overwhelming amount of data thus keeping view the limited expertise in the field it is important to abridge the data to accelerate research and knowledge dispersal. Thus, abridging the amount of information brings the concept of “lean and mean writing.” This would increase the efficiency, utility, and practicality, while retaining the absolute essentials, which is the call of the time. Lean and mean writing is not a new concept however it works by eliminating unnecessary processes hence bringing in forefront innovation and improvement. Keeping the data precise or ambiguous keeps the “mean” concept under check. Scientific publications are known to be detailed in spite of the word limit which can result in a reader skipping the article due to the highly descriptive information thus the article ideally failing the purpose of reaching out to larger audience.
What is Lean?
The “lean” approach involves refining the processes to achieve perfection by reducing the futile unnecessary steps thereby improving the experience for both the reader and reviewer. The lean process includes five steps. The first step is to identify the deliverable and its purpose. The next step is to map the value and critically review the process to eliminate steps which will not affect the quality. Then we establish a workflow in place, and reviewing periodically to seek perfection.
Why shift to lean approach?
In the era of cloud storage why do we need to abridge the data? It is associated with threat to the data since it moves out of a secured environment. Even connectivity issues and access issues when you are out of accessible environment is another reason.
What is the mean approach?
Elaborate analysis, multiple repetitive publications makes it difficult for writers and reviewers hence it’s necessary that overlapping data should be discouraged and short report supplementing the previous data can be provided. As information retrieval not only becomes tedious with the large amount of data but also reduces the servers speed and in turn the efficiency for work.
Six Sigma is an efficient, data-based pathway and practice for knock out defects (tends towards a six standard deviations between the mean and the nearest specification limit) in any process – from manufacturing to transactional and from product to service. It is applicable to writing work as it is for other industries.
James Lind institute is aiding in this evolving process of “Lean mean writing” by providing the individuals training as scientific medical writers with this soon to be global approach in the scientific communities thereby reducing the redundant data so that the efficiency increases.