Going Lean in Healthcare Information Development — Increasing Gains, Reducing Uncertainty, and Working with Non-Technical Teams

How do you maximise reuse, ensure content accuracy, protect a reputation that took a century to develop, all the while delivering accurate information to people when they need it most?

Macmillan Cancer Support (http://macmillan.org.uk) provides information covering diagnoses, treatments, and after-effects for over 60 different cancers, as well as practical matters like diet, family, money, work and government benefits. All information is reviewed and updated every 2½ years in a fully tracked and externally-audited process, before being published in print and online, as well as in ebooks, audiobooks, PDFs, and translated editions.

Adopting lean practices and modular content management at Macmillan Cancer Support has improved consistency and accuracy, simplified corrections and updates, and increased cooperation between specialist writers, editors, and digital distribution teams. And it involved teaching non-technical writers how to work with structured content without mentioning DITA, XML, or even the words “structured content.”

This talk will outline the challenges faced, the solutions enacted, and the benefits gained so far.

What can attendees expect to learn?

Attendees can expect to learn about some of the difficulties faced in this particular instance, along with some examination of root causes and the solutions attempted (successful and not-so-successful).

Examples of organisation and support practices suited to non-technical writing teams will be discussed, including the benefits of audit trails and gradual adoption, along with some honest reflection on trying to bring non-specialists around to structured content and modular reuse.

Meet the Presenter

SamTaradashSamuel Taradash works for Macmillan Cancer Support, the UK’s leading cancer support charity, in Information Development. His team tracks all the cancer support information in print, in audio, and online to make sure it’s current, accurate, accessible and correctly processed for internal and external end users.

In addition to driving content reuse, Samuel practices delivering material across formats and in facilitating communication across working cultures. In his spare time, he helps The Special Relationship (http://thespecialrelationship.net) to put on London’s finest literary entertainments, most recently a live reading of Moby Dick to open the 2015 London Literary Festival.

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