Whenever you sit down to prepare a report, think about your audience. Who is going to read this report? What are his or her needs, level of understanding of medicine, and objectives? Writing a report is based on the needs of your reader – address each of these points.
Ask yourself, “What do I want my reader to do, think or believe as a result of reading my report?” Do you want your reader to
- understand how the medical literature supports or refutes the attorney’s theory of the case? A summary of the medical literature, accompanied by highlighted articles would be effective.
- get a fast overview of the facts of the case? A timeline will serve this purpose. Writing a report in Word, TimeMap, Adobe Illustrator or other programs is effective.
- be able to compare one set of facts to another, such as what various witnesses testified about? A table with parallel columns may work well. Use Word to create this, and consider a column that identifies the medical record page number.
- understand your opinion and analysis of liability, causation or damages? An opinion and analysis report would be best. This could be an expert witness report or a screening report.
- be able to see the details of care? A medical summary would convey symptoms and treatment.
- understand the plaintiff’s medical treatment? A chronology would provide the details of care. Writign a report in Word or CaseMap is helpful.
- identify the care providers? A cast of characters
- detail the plaintiff’s pain and suffering? A Federal Rule of Evidence 1006 report provides a detailed description of what the plaintiff went through.
listing would assist the attorney in keeping the who’s who straight
Focus on writing a report based on the attorney’s needs, comprehension of medicine and objectives.
Pat Iyer MSN RN LNCC is the former president of Med League, which she owned for 26 years before selling in 2015. She has been writing reports for attorneys since 1987.