The MedDRA Maintenance and Support Services Organization (MSSO) is an independent organization that maintains and
distributes the Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities (MedDRA®), a medically validated terminology used by the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) and other health, regulatory, and pharmaceutical industries around the world. The MSSO includes IT experts,
support staff, and internationally-based physicians who review all MedDRA proposed subscriber changes and provide timely responses
to the requesting subscriber. MedDRA subscribers come from all over the world, speak many different languages, and have various
backgrounds in medical, IT, project management, accounting, and finance. MSSO consists of approximately 25 individuals including
several remote staff across the United States and Europe.
MSSO relies heavily on written communication to subscribers through emails,
expert papers, and other technical documents to support the MedDRA terminology.
The lingual and cultural mix of MedDRA users makes clear written communication
In the past, broadcast emails to MedDRA users had been especially problematic
for MSSO staff to compose, given the diversity of the audience and complexity of
the messages. MSSO staff also had varied levels of writing skills, which led to the
potential for misinterpretations of MSSO communications by MedDRA subscribers.
As an organization that requires clear communication and comprehension of complex
medical terminology to succeed, MSSO realized that they needed to help their
employees improve their writing skills and formalize external written communications
to convey messages clearly to subscribers. After considering a myriad of solutions,
they turned to Hurley Write, Inc.
Hurley Write specializes in providing customized writing courses to large corporations
and small businesses that empower employees to write with skill and confidence.
Since 2003, Hurley Write has provided onsite training to MSSO employees over the
course of several sessions, ultimately teaching them how to write and communicate
more effectively. Pam Hurley, PhD, president of Hurley Write, analyzed samples
of MSSO’s writing and used the documents as workshop exercises to suggest
strategies that MSSO could use to improve its written communications. After her
initial visit, Pam was invited back to MSSO to teach a refresher course and to
educate new MSSO staff members. “Pam was a great and motivational employee
trainer, and we’ve been extremely pleased with the work she’s done,” said Patrick
Revelle, project director of MSSO. “She definitely made workshops fun and engaging,
yet she still challenged us to really look at our writing and improve it.”
Since using Hurley Write’s services to improve external written communications, MSSO has revolutionized their thinking about
communication to subscribers via the written word, including making effective language choices and ensuring the documents meet
reader needs. MSSO is now conscientiously aware of all written communications and uses the techniques they gained from Hurley Write
onsite training to communicate more clearly and effectively with subscribers. Hurley Write has also helped MSSO from an efficiency
standpoint, enabling them to quickly compose documents and emails to be sent to subscribers. “Pam’s name is mentioned almost daily
in our office now and whether the writing has passed the Pam Hurley Test,” said Patty Mozzicato, chief medical officer of MSSO. “For
someone that spent only three days with us, she has quite a legacy here and we utilize the writing techniques she taught us all the time.”