In the event you’re a fan of The Workplace, you’re aware of Michael Scott’s antics as regional supervisor at Dunder Mifflin Paper Firm. Whether or not he’s grilling his personal foot whereas cooking bacon in mattress or operating down a coworker within the car parking zone, Michael’s at all times good for fun. However what if a lesson from Michael Scott may enhance your well being writing?
Keep on with us, pricey readers, and film this scene:
It’s Michael’s birthday, and he’s so excited to have fun at work. However nobody on the workplace is feeling festive as a result of Kevin, the accountant, is ready for his pores and skin most cancers screening outcomes. Then, nice information! Kevin’s check got here again unfavourable. Everybody cheers! Aside from Michael, who thinks Kevin simply obtained a loss of life sentence.
Ultimately, Michael figures it out: “Apparently, within the medication neighborhood, unfavourable means good, which makes completely no sense. Within the real-world neighborhood, that may be… chaos.”
Michael, you’re so proper! (By no means thought you’d hear that, did you?) Let’s save the entire “optimistic” and “unfavourable” method for issues which might be really—await it—optimistic or unfavourable. In the actual world, optimistic means good. However when a check comes again “optimistic” for a illness, most folk aren’t precisely leaping for pleasure. Right here at We ❤ Health Literacy Headquarters, we name recipe for pointless confusion.
Fortuitously, there’s a easy various: simply be particular when writing (or speaking) about check outcomes! As an alternative of:
- “In case your check comes again optimistic, your physician will discuss with you about remedy choices.”
- “Your check got here again unfavourable.”
- “If the check reveals that you’ve got [whatever thing you have], your physician will discuss with you about remedy choices.”
- “The check outcomes present that you simply don’t have [whatever thing you don’t have].”
So take a tip from The Workplace and keep away from the chaos. Michael Scott—and the remainder of the real-world neighborhood—will thanks.
The underside line: When writing about check outcomes, skip the topsy-turvy “positives” and “negatives”—simply inform individuals what they really want to know.