Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Winner: Best Plain English Document — Public Sector 2021

Health Navigator NZ

Document name


Judges’ comments

The headings are all clear. Anyone scanning the document could absorb key messages such as ‘Tell your healthcare team straight away if you change your diet’. The headings also tell us that there are a few common side effects but serious side effects are rare.

The tone is authoritative enough to be credible but informal enough to be engaging and create natural sentences.

The writers found the early drafts sounded scary and they needed to explain some sensitive issues. The final document provides a balance of risk and benefits. It also includes the sensitive issues — in straightforward language.

Media statement

Health Navigator NZ CEO Janine Bycroft said the entry was a brochure of easy-to-read information for health consumers about a new Pharmac-funded medicine for type 2 diabetes, called empagliflozin, that can have serious side effects. The brochure was also translated into seven other languages.

‘Many Pasifika people with no English or English as a second language have type 2 diabetes. Many people will not know about ketoacidosis — a serious side effect from taking this medicine – which is simply and clearly explained in the document.’

Dr Bycroft said Health Navigator NZ carried out wide consumer testing, and also tested extensively with subject matter experts, including diabetes specialists, pharmacists and Health Literacy NZ.

She said there has been considerable positive feedback from prescribers and pharmacists, as well as positive consumer feedback.
‘After the first round of three translations, we were asked by DHBs to translate the leaflet into four more languages.’

Dr Bycroft said the empagliflozin brochure was an example of the work Health Navigator NZ does to produce health information and resources that are accessible to everyone.

‘Medicines information in Aotearoa is complex and confusing for the lay person — even medicine names are hard to remember and pronounce.

‘Health Navigator NZ works to demystify what medicines are used for, what they do, what the side effects and drug interactions are and what to do if people have any concerns about taking the medicine. This can literally save lives.’

She said the team was delighted to have won this award.

Susie Hill
Health Navigator NZ

More information
Find the brochure on the empagliflozin side bar of the Health Navigator NZ website