Are there strategies for efficiently updating shared content across multiple medical documents?

Efficiently updating shared content across multiple medical documents is crucial to maintain consistency and accuracy in documentation. DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) provides strategies for achieving this efficiently. Here are some strategies:

1. Content Reuse: DITA encourages modular content creation. You can create reusable topics or components that contain shared information. For instance, if there are common procedures or regulations applicable to multiple medical documents, you can create separate DITA topics for these and reference them in each document. When you need to update the shared content, you only need to do it in one place, and the changes will automatically propagate to all documents that reference it.

2. Conditional Processing: DITA allows you to use conditional processing attributes to include or exclude content based on conditions. This is useful when you have variations in content for different documents. For example, if you have two versions of a medical device manual, you can use conditional processing to include or exclude content specific to each version. This ensures that each document contains only the relevant information, and updates can be made to the shared content without duplicating efforts.


Here’s an example of using conditional processing in DITA to efficiently manage shared content across multiple documents:

<!-- Example: Conditional Processing for Document Variants -->
  <title>Document A</title>
  <p>This section includes content for Document A.</p>
  <revprop action="exclude" variant="B" />

  <title>Document B</title>
  <p>This section includes content for Document B.</p>
  <revprop action="exclude" variant="A" />

In this example, conditional processing ensures that the content intended for one document variant is excluded when generating the other variant. Updates to shared content are simplified and ensure consistency.