August 20, 2020

CLEAR group turns five

Northern Health’s Consumer Literacy Evaluation and Review (CLEAR) group turned five this month. They are one of the longest running consumer groups who have eagerly contributed to Northern Health. The group has a very specific task of reviewing and providing feedback on all information developed within the health service, that will be given to patients and their families.

Paula Murray, Health Literacy Coordinator, explained the group focuses on ensuring the information aimed at patients makes sense, is useful and relevant and easy to understand.

“The group also looks at whether the information in a brochure, for example, provides the information consumers would expect to receive, if it answers any questions that they may have and if it points readers to where they can get more information,” she explained.

Originally, prior to the formation of the CLEAR group, consumers reviewed materials posted out to them. When the CLEAR group commenced, the group evolved to meet once monthly face to face to review documents together.  They discuss, sometimes quite animatedly, their opinions on how the information could be improved. The CLEAR group members take their role very seriously, always considering how and when people will receive this information, and how useful it will be to them.

Mary Renshaw , CLEAR member said: “Since I joined the CLEAR group,  I have been a patient at Northern Health too. As a patient, I received special care at Northern Health and understood why the work of our CLEAR group is so important and how it can make a difference. It has helped with the clear wording of directions and general understanding of information the patients receive,” she said.

The feedback provided from the CLEAR group helps the clinical authors adapt and revise their documents to ensure they are of the best possible quality for future patients and consumers using our services.

“The CLEAR group participated in previous accreditation processes and, on two separate occasions, helped Northern Health achieve “Met with Merit” outcome for our Health Literacy actives, which is outstanding and an excellent acknowledgment of their work and effort. Now that we are in COVID-19 times, the group, even in lockdown, are reviewing documents and providing feedback electronically or over the phone,” Paula explained.

The CLEAR group have achieved a lot in their time, and have reviewed over 200 documents. These have included posters, patient information brochures, surveys and Northern Health publications such as our annual Quality Account.

Five of the original CLEAR group members have been on the group from the very beginning and have now achieved five years of contribution. They are: Graham and Gwen Roberts, Mary Renshaw, Ruth Sherlock and Mary Herring.

If you’d like advice on developing a patient resource or seeking input for the CLEAR group, please contact Norther Health’s Health Literacy Coordinator, Paula Murray at

Original CLEAR group members
Featured image (left to right): Annette Higgins, Karen Overall, Sophie Rodier and Amanda Strangwick from the Patient Experience team