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Health Information Technology: Professional writing

Provides starting points for research in TCC's HIT Program

Professional writing

You will write with different styles and voices, depending on your purpose and audience. When you send an e-mail to an instructor, you write differently than when you post to Facebook; your intent and audience are not the same. 

Your HIM program writing should have a professional tone.  What does that mean? 

Professional writing is intended for a professional audience - HIT professionals and other stakeholders who have an interest in what you are writing.  Of course, you have another audience, your instructors, but when you write keep your mind focused on colleagues.

Do these things

Here are a few best practices in professional writing

  • Use present tense
  • Avoid 1st person (I, me, my, mine, we, our, ourselves) and 2nd person (you, your).
  • Be precise--"78% of patients" rather than "a lot of patients"
  • Choose professional/technical terminology over casual language
  • Spell out acronyms the first time they are used--for example, peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Capitalize the acronym whether the full name is capitalized or not

Get help at the TCC Writing Center

Schedule an appointment or visit us in person to see how our tutors can help you improve your writing in any subject.

  • Scheduled, one-on-one sessions: These are appointments you can make up to one week in advance with the tutor of your choice (on a first come, first scheduled basis).
  • Group Tutoring: For team projects or several students from the same class.
  • Drop-in Tutoring: We offer drop-in tutoring in English, ESL, writing and math.
  • Online Tutoring: TCC is a member of the Northwest eTutoring Consortium. Find online help with coursework and find links to Internet resources to assist you in finding your own answers.
  • Grammar Corner: The tutors will assist you with a variety of grammar issues. Come with questions about specific kinds of errors or with more general concerns.
  • Computers: Use 1 of our 20 student computers to draft papers and do research, as well as to have computer-assisted tutorials with our tutors.

Avoid these mistakes

Here is a brief list of common things to avoid in your writing:

  • I, we, you, us, they, we, one - "personal intrusion" can be a challenge to avoid, but with a little practice it will feel more natural.
  • "really, "very", "a lot"  --these are imprecise
  • "in regards to" - this is an awkward phrase that new professional writers seem to be drawn to
  • exclamation points (!) are NEVER appropriate unless they are part of something you are quoting directly
  • digits under 10. Write out whole numbers under 10 as in, two, four, nine
  • "The authors say" --since you are describing writing, not speaking, you'll want to use phrases like:  "the authors write", "Johnson and Chu claim,"  "Achebe and Nyguen assert", etc.
  •  "The article states", "The article presents",... Articles don't "do" anything. It is the authors that "do" as above

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