The Coffey Blog

3 health literacy principles for healthcare marketers

Posted on: Monday, July 27, 2015

Jeremy Dietz, Executive Digital Editor
Marjorie Reece, Lead Senior Editor

"Tell us why your science is relevant to us."

That's a plea Melissa Marshall, communications expert, has for the scientists, doctors and engineers she teaches. 

In her popular TED Talk,  she shares her mission to help the brains behind the science clearly and simply explain their important work. (Bonus: She does it in less than 5 minutes.) 

Join the health literacy cause!

Healthcare marketers who work with doctors and other clinicians to produce health information have a unique opportunity. By sharing Marshall's passion for building greater understanding—and improving health literacy—you can create healthcare content that truly informs and inspires. 

Yes, you can change lives. 

Can you tell we're passionate about health literacy? We know how much it matters to both quality health content and quality healthcare. So we're here to recruit you to the cause. 

Health literacy is a complex topic with many factors to consider. But in the spirit of saying it simply, here are 3 key principles of plain language to work by and write by: 

1. Banish jargon. Use simple, familiar language in your healthcare content and explain technical terms and concepts. 

2. Split it up. Break content into chunks so it's easier to scan, read and understand—on your website and in your print publications too. 

3. Make your point clear. Organize information so the most important messages stand out. For example, if you want readers to come to a blood pressure screening, make sure your call to action says that clearly and isn't buried in a block of text. 

Use these basics to help guide your work—and to encourage doctors to explain complex ideas so your readers can understand. 

An invitation from the editors of The Coffey Blog

We'll be posting more about this topic in the weeks and months to come. Have a question you'd like answered? A success story to share? An idea for a post? Please email us. We look forward to hearing from you.

Let Coffey help you say it more simply

Our team includes experts in health literacy editing. We love the challenge of taking difficult text and making it easier to read. To learn more about this service and how it can transform your health content and materials, call us at 888.805.9101 or email us

Related posts

Interviewing doctors: How to get a great healthcare story
Providing value: Does your healthcare content pass the test?
Spot on! 4 key attributes of compelling healthcare content