There is accuracy and then there is anal retentiveness. It is possible to be exhausting or overwhelmingly accurate, so we cannot lose sight of the candour that our tone of voice prides itself on, without compromising on accuracy.
In line with our patient-first editorial intent, the lengths that we go to to explore topics and provide information must be appropriate – communicating with clarity and trimming the fat, but never leaving patients wanting for information.
We never romanticise, but we never overwhelm or repulse either. Don’t be too literal when it comes to imagery – if we are too literal, we end up with an STI landing page filled with people covering their genitals and wincing. Think outside the box if need be (for instance, in this UTI blog the featured image is of one of the remedies suggested in the piece, rather than the UTI itself), but never veer too far into the abstract or ambiguous.
Present two sides of the story when appropriate, but don’t avoid a defined stance either. There are some cases, like the rise of the anti vaccination movement, that it would be irresponsible to provide a balanced view of – so we don’t. Use your judgement, and never provide a balanced view and platform for medically inaccurate opinions for the sake of doing so.
Self explanatory, we would hope. It is easy to emphasise clarity, but less easy to intuit how we expect that to be delivered, which is where this section of our editorial guidelines comes in.
There cannot be ambiguity in the advice that we provide. Our wording and structuring needs to be efficient, our phrasing accessible – never being verbose for the sake of it. When it comes to advice, our patient is time poor, often at a particularly vulnerable moment of their lives, so we need to cut to the chase.
The medical advice that we provide needs to be realistic and actionable. We need to provide clear advice that we can reasonably expect the average user to be able to deliver upon. We cannot assume a given level of fitness, financial stability, or even health.
— Being Up-To-Date
Content should be constantly reviewed and challenged. What was up-to-date and relevant advice at the start of the year, may not be by the year’s end. Research is published daily, and with every new finding can come a new perspective on conditions previously thought to be well understood.
Putting a number on the word count we consider excessive in exploring even the broadest or most convoluted subjects. This is more guideline than strict rule, but content should adhere to it more often than it doesn’t.
— Maximum Word Count
Content in any situation should never be longer than 1500 words.