Projects Series: How to Write Effective Reports for Patient Advocacy Group Meetings

health and medical writing projects

Patient advocacy groups (or PAGs) are organisations that support patients by ensuring their voices are heard within the healthcare system, they have access to necessary resources (including medications), and they receive the best possible care. These groups often work on behalf of specific patient populations, such as those with chronic illnesses, rare diseases, or other health conditions.

Patient advocacy group meetings serve several important functions:

  • Bringing together members to discuss strategies, share experiences, and plan future initiatives
  • Disseminating updates on research, policy changes, and healthcare innovations
  • Making collective decisions on advocacy efforts, funding allocations, and other group activities
  • Providing a forum for members to connect, share stories, and support each other.

Creating effective meeting reports is essential for ensuring that all members are informed and engaged; for communicating important information; ensuring transparency; and fostering effective collaboration. As a medical writer, I have attended and written reports for (probably) hundreds of patient advocacy group meetings, across all manner of therapy areas and covering many different topics.

Whether you’re a seasoned writer or new to the role, here is a comprehensive guide to help you write impactful reports for these important gatherings.

Understand the purpose of the patient advocacy group meeting

Before you attend a meeting, it is a good idea to ask for the agenda, so you know what will be discussed and the meeting objectives, which may include:

  • Highlighting progress, challenges and next steps for ongoing projects
  • Presenting data, analysis and implications for the group
  • Summarising patient feedback and action plans based on the insights
  • Outlining new initiatives, including goals, strategies and required resources.

You should also clarify the purpose of the report, and the audience. Patient advocacy groups may include members with varying levels of expertise and experience. It is important to provide sufficient detail to support your points without overwhelming the reader, acknowledging the different backgrounds and interests within the group.

Attending the meeting and writing notes

Writing thorough notes during the meeting is an important first step for creating a successful report. These meetings are often online, although will sometimes be in person.

Preparation is key (as always). Once you have the agenda to hand, create a top-line overview for your notes in word, so you don’t have to do this in the moment. I always write down the key headings, questions and objectives for each section BEFORE the meeting starts. I like to have a new page for each section of the meeting, with ‘section breaks’ to clearly differentiate one part of the next.

During the meeting, try to record what is being said as comprehensively as possible, noting down who is saying what and what country they are from (make sure to pay attention when participants introduce themselves!). Immediately after the meeting, review your notes and fill in gaps, clarifying ambiguous points while the information is still fresh.

It is a good idea to ask for a recording of the meeting. This way, if you miss anything, you can go back and review what was said (I always do this)!

Prepare yourself before writing

Collect all necessary materials and information before you begin writing. You will need access to a recording of the meeting, notes you took during the meeting, and any feedback from the group ‘chat’ (if the meeting was held on a platform like Zoom). It is also useful to have a copy of the agenda to hand.

Before you start writing, create a report outline in the client’s preferred platform (usually PPT or Word) based on what was discussed in the meeting – sometimes this varies slightly from the original agenda. You can also slot in the agenda, participant list, any supplementary materials, and a placeholder slide for the Executive Summary.

Each report will follow similar structure:

  1. Title slide: Report title, date of meeting, job code (depending on client).
  2. Introduction: Background information, e.g., agenda, participant details (sometimes these go into the appendices).
  3. Executive Summary: Brief overview of the report’s contents and key findings, usually action-focused.
  4. Summary of meeting: Structured summary of each section of the meeting, including important decisions made and quotations to demonstrate key points.
  5. Summary / Next Steps: Summary of key points and next steps.
  6. Appendices: Additional material, such as supplementary documents.

When I create a report, I also include an ‘internal’ slide or two, to summarise learnings and next steps for the sponsoring client, which is usually an independent pharmaceutical or medical device company.

Draft the main body of the report

With your outline in hand, you can begin drafting the main sections of your report. Focus on presenting information logically and coherently, supporting your points with quotations and concrete examples. Remember the following top tips:

  • Avoid unnecessary jargon and keep sentences straightforward
  • Include quotations to demonstrate key points
  • Consider incorporating charts, graphs, and tables to make complex information more digestible
  • If you reference studies, data, or other external information, provide proper citations.

Write the rest of the report

Executive Summary

The executive summary is a crucial component of your report. It provides a snapshot of the document, allowing readers to quickly grasp the main points and key findings. Although it appears at the beginning, it’s often easiest to write after completing the rest of the report. Components of an Executive Summary are as follows:

  • Purpose: Why the report was created.
  • Key findings: The most important data or insights.
  • Conclusions: What the findings mean.
  • Recommendations: Suggested actions based on the conclusions.

Conclusion / Next Steps

This section should succinctly summarise the key points of the report and reiterate any recommended actions. It should leave the reader with a clear understanding of the next steps.

Review and Revise

Before sending out your report, thoroughly review and revise it. Check for clarity, coherence, and accuracy. Double-check sections of the meeting recording if anything is missing or unclear.


Writing effective reports for patient advocacy group meetings is a skill that combines clear communication, thorough research, and strategic thinking. By following these steps, you can create reports that inform, engage, and drive meaningful action.

A well-crafted report not only conveys information but also empowers groups to advocate more effectively for patients and their needs.


Thank you for reading this far. If you are interested in hearing more about my writing services, drop me a note with the CONTACT button above.

You may want to read other blogs from my Projects Series: this one is all about editing transcripts.

I also offer one-to-one mentoring for freelance writers. Get in touch if you’re ready to take your business to the next level!

related posts

Let’s talk.

Drop me a line to find out more about me, my rates and availability, and how we could work together. 

You can find me on:
A note from me:

I work Tuesday through Friday. I’ll aim to get back to you within 24 hours during the working week.