Plain English Awards winner

The team at Health Navigator NZ were delighted to win the Best plain English document – Public sector award at the 2021 Plain English Awards, held in October. The awards seek to improve government and business documents so that all New Zealanders can understand them. They also aim to raise awareness of the need for, and benefits of, using plain language.

Health Navigator NZ’s entry was a brochure of easy-to-read information for health consumers. It was written about a new Pharmac-funded medicine for type 2 diabetes (empagliflozin) that can have serious side effects. The brochure was also translated into 10 other languages. 

The judges awarded the brochure a perfect score, noting that Health Navigator NZ “provided a far more reader-friendly document than the usual leaflet accompanying medicines.”

Information about the medicines used in Aotearoa New Zealand can be complicated and confusing for many people – even medicine names are hard to remember and pronounce. Health Navigator NZ provides clear information about what medicines are used for, what they do, the possible side effects and drug interactions, and what to do if you have any concerns about taking the medicine. When creating this brochure, the Health Navigator team tried it out with a range of healthcare consumers. They also talked to experts, including diabetes specialists, pharmacists and Health Literacy experts.    

There has been a lot of positive feedback from prescribers and pharmacists, as well as positive consumer feedback about this brochure. 

The Health Navigator NZ website provides Kiwis with easy-to-understand, New Zealand-focused resources to help them understand and use their medicines safely. The website has more than 500 medicine information pages, including general safety tips and how to understand medicine labels. Health Navigator NZ also provides videos, quizzes and dose calculators.