Plain Language Summaries (PLSs), also known as lay summaries or patient lay summaries, communicate scientific content in everyday language so it is easily understood by a broader audience. Development of publication PLSs is relatively new to the scientific community. Here we describe the development of a company-wide process for publication PLSs.
Pfizer's Oncology Organization partnered with the Enterprise Publication Team to implement a pilot for the development of congress abstract PLSs. The pilot ran for 1.5 years, throughout which feedback was gathered from patients, congress organizers, healthcare professionals (HCPs) and internal stakeholders (Medical, Legal, Corporate Affairs and Publications), in person and via telephone. This feedback was combined with input from Pfizer's Health Literacy and Medical Writing groups, based on their experience with developing PLSs for patient advocates and study participants, and incorporated into a company-wide guidance for abstract and manuscript PLSs.
The oncology pilot involved 185 abstract PLSs across 11 congresses (7 United States [US], 4 ex-US), resulting in 6,936 views, downloads, prints and redirections to scientific abstracts. PLSs were available to congress attendees via poster QR codes for 60 days and, for four congresses, via Pfizer.com for two weeks. Stakeholder feedback was positive; however, patient advocates expressed the need for PLSs to be accessible and to endure beyond the congress. A company-wide guidance for abstract and manuscript PLS development was developed and training was provided to relevant stakeholders. A manuscript PLS was published using this guidance.
Having official guidance for the development of publication PLSs allows for a standard company-wide approach and promotes the idea of making information more accessible to patients and caregivers. Development of PLSs are being expanded to other therapeutic areas within Pfizer.
Figure 1: Development of enterprise-wide publication PLS guidance
*Feedback was gathered from external stakeholders (patients, congress
organizers, HCPs and authors) and internal stakeholders (Medical, Legal, Corporate Affairs and PMT).
PLS, Plain Language Summary; PMT, Pfizer Publications Management Team; WMS, Pfizer Worldwide Medical and Safety.
Figure 2: Impact of oncology abstract PLS pilot
ASCO, American Society of Clinical Oncology; ASH, American Society of Hematology; ESMO, European Society for Medical Oncology; GU, genitourinary; SABCS, San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium; WCLC, World Conference on Lung Cancer.
Figure 3: Congress abstract PLS example*
*Abstract PLS presented at ESMO congress, September 27–October 1, 2019, Barcelona, Spain.
ESMO, European Society for Medical Oncology.
Figure 4: Best practices for PLS implementation
Regardless of therapy area or asset, ensure a consistent process is adhered to for author involvement, content development, and review/approval process.
Utilize fixed PLS Datavision document templates to support adherence with the development process.
|Training of colleagues & agencies||
PLS development is an emerging area of expertise; therefore, to ensure optimal quality, it is important that colleagues and agency partners are trained in the processes and content development best practices.
Align with health literacy best practices by consistently using language that is easily understood by a lay audience. This means avoiding jargon and translating technical terminology into language that is understandable to patients.
|Fixed definitions & fees||
Partner with procurement to clearly define PLS LoS and fixed fees, and evaluate vendor capabilities.