During Health Literacy Awareness Month, we are shining a light on some of our outstanding consultants who don’t just breathe life into content, but crucially, make it readable, understandable and actionable for the people it’s designed to reach.
Meet Eleanor Stanley and find out why she believes health literacy is your best friend when it comes to writing inclusive, engaging and effective health information.
1. What does health literacy mean to you in 10 words or less?
Making sure no one gets left out.
2. What drove you to specialise in health literacy in the first place?
No one likes being ‘talked at’ by someone who isn’t really focused on what matters to them.
As a health writer, and also as a carer, I’ve often come across health information that feels a bit like that.
There’s a risk that we think of health information as ‘neutral’ because it has a scientific evidence base.
But communicating health information is an art as well as a science.
There are multiple ways you can convey any one piece of information, and to do it effectively, you have to understand exactly who you are talking to, what they need to know, and how they want to hear it.
If you’re really interested in the ultimate ‘why’ behind what you are writing – whether behaviour change, reassurance, or compliance – then health literacy is your best friend.
3. What is the most common health literacy mistake you see in published health information?
Some organisations get scared of the idea of involving users; they might think they would need enough resources to run a huge involvement programme or that asking people’s opinions would open a can of worms, encouraging impossible requests.
But even small organisations can manage to have informal chats with the people they serve, to discover the pinch points in their journey where some information would really have helped, and to understand what works best for them.
4. What are your top three tips for good health literacy?
- Plain English
- Visuals for numbers
- Talk to your service users!
Eleanor is a Collective Consultant and the face of health communications consultancy, Articulate Health. When she’s not crafting health content or looking after family, she’s exploring the South Downs with her dog Rosie, or singing in Sussex band, Sweet Onions.
The Difference Collective is a group of health literacy experts, communicators and healthcare strategists. Get in touch to discuss how we can help you look at your organisation’s approach to health literacy and help you produce better health information.