COMMUNICATION IN MEDICINE:
Patients, Physicians, Payers, Policy and Publications

April 27, 2021

Reach Your Target Audience

Selecting a target journal for manuscript submission is a consequential choice when communicating research findings to key decision-makers including patients, physicians, payers, and policymakers.

Clear, Concise, Consistent Communication

The importance of scientific communication has become most evident this past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health communication output most often occurs during a crisis when the processing and dissemination of information is difficult during times of stress in diverse populations. Health information needs to be clear, concise, and consistent. Clear messaging can be remembered during a stressful time, by every age and socioeconomic group. As information is gained, changes in the message must be explained in calm and sensible terms. All crisis-related communications should be reasoned and reassuring to reestablish order during chaotic times.

Life Journey

Health care providers perform crisis communications daily with patients and caregivers. The relationship is more than knowing the medical history. Physicians and countless health care providers often know patients as individuals and are an integral part of the patient’s life journey. For many physicians and health care providers, our days begin and end in a hospital, and at some point, all of us will be a patient.

Scientific Findings and Clinical Exchange

Often serving as a patient advocate, health care communications impart information to the public, payers, and policymakers. However, the most frequent health care communications are exchanged between health care professionals. Routinely, these communications provide critical clinical information to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

Sharing findings through peer-reviewed publications and specialty society conferences is one of the most important types of scientific communication. Providing results of pivotal clinical trials and outcomes-based research improves patient care and comfort. Through continuing medical education requirements, physicians must demonstrate that they are aware of scientific results that improve health care quality and outcomes.

Factors: Journal Selection

Although it is one of the last steps in the publication process, selection of a peer-reviewed journal is a profound responsibility. To impact clinical practice, it is important to select a medical journal with a large circulation and readership directly involved in decision-making of the care that was studied. Many sources provide metrics for journal selection, which help guide priorities based on the resulting value message and target audience.

Reflecting the value of research results and understanding the target audience for the publication, STATinMED Research recommends submission of manuscripts to journals based on several factors.

Factors Critical to Journal Selection

Journal Characteristics and Manuscript Submission Scorecard

Consider the characteristics and score card below to plan for journal submission.

A score of 35 or greater is needed to submit to a journal.

  • Green: Highly important as a consideration for journal submission
  • Yellow: Some flexibility as long as other high-priority (green) factors met
  • Red: Critical factors, especially if there are not enough high-priority (green) factors to compensate for the low-priority factors
  • Journal A
    TOTAL SCORE: 41 – Select this journal
    Journal B
    TOTAL SCORE: 32 – Do not select this journal
    Which choices will you make? What are the consequences? Consider these factors and the impact when selecting journals and communicating research findings.

    Nora Janjan, MD, MPSA, MBA
    FACP, FACR, FASTRO, FASCO
    Chief Medical Officer

    Dr. Janjan enhances our team with her broad experience in regulatory affairs, development of national and international standards for healthcare, and unique academic credentials to enrich our knowledge base and provide high-quality clinical expertise to our team. As one of a few physicians nationally with a master’s degree in public service administration and business administration, her expertise includes clinical trials, health economics and outcomes research, health care policy, and patient-reported outcomes.

    References

    1. Bornmann L, Williams R. Can the journal impact factor be used as a criterion for the selection of junior researchers?  A large-scale empirical study based on ResearchID data. J Informetrics. 2017;11:788-799.
    2. Feliú-Mójer M. Effective communication, better science. Scientific American. February 24, 2015.
    3. Gauffriau M. A categorization of arguments for counting methods for publication and citation indicators. J Informetrics. 2017;11:672-684.
    4. Hafeez DM, Jalal S, Khosa F.  Bibliometric analysis of manuscript characteristics that influence citations: A comparison of six major psychiatry journals. J Psychiatr Res. 2019;108:90-94.
    5. Maghfour J, Olson J, Jacob SE. COVID-19 impacts medical journal submissions. Int J Women Dermatol. 2020;6:255-256.
    6. Sharifi C, Buccheri RK. Selecting a journal for your manuscript: A 4-step process. J Prof Nurs. 2020;36:85-91.
    7. Sobani ZA, Horovitz J, Kamholz S. Streamlined manuscript guidelines: Beyond overdue. Ann Med Surgery. 2018;25:1-2.
    8. Walters WH. Do subjective journal ratings represent whole journals or typical articles?  Unweighted or weighted citation impact? J Informetrics. 2017;11:730-744.

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