Optimising Health Literacy and Access (Ophelia)

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Sir Alwyn Williams Building, Level 5 Suite

18 Lilybank Gardens

G12 8QQ

United Kingdom

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We are pleased to invite you to:

The Institute of Health and Wellbeing Maurice Bloch Annual Lecture Series 2015/16

Title: Optimising Health Literacy and Access (OPHELIA): A fresh approach generating fit for purpose equitable health care service improvements

Presenter: Professor Richard Osborne, Deakin University, Australia

Date: 9 October 2015

Time: 10-11.15am tea and coffee will be served 30mins beforehand followed by a masterclass which will run until 4pm

Venue: Sir Alwyn Williams Building, Level 5 Suite

Chair: Dr Ingrid Young

The seminar will be followed by a masterclass, lunch will be provided


Professor Osborne will introduce the Ophelia (OPtimising HEalth Literacy and Access) process which is being implemented in a wide range of settings. Ophelia, developed in Australia, is being applied in Asia and the EU. Following the release of the WHO-SEARO / Deakin Health Literacy Toolkit for Low- and Middle-income countries, Ophelia and related tools have been used in the emergency, hospital, primary care, and community settings. It is being regarded as a fresh and equitable approach to community intervention development and service improvement

About the speaker

Professor Richard Osborne is Professor of Public Health at the School of Health and Social Development, a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, and WHO Consultant based at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

About the masterclass.

Health Literacy and the re-orientation of the concept of patient centred care – putting care and equity at the centre

Facilitated by: Prof Richard Osborne,

Dr Alison Beauchamp,

Public Health Innovation,

School of Health and Social Development

Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.

Richard and Alison will introduce novel approaches to clinical and community consultation processes. Participants will see how their professional and personal experience (local wisdom) can be used generate fit-for-purpose and implementable interventions to improve patient experience, health outcomes and equity. The Masterclass will introduce the Ophelia (OPtimising HEalth LIteracy and Access) process and the HLQ (Health Literacy Questionnaire); structured approaches that bring together the voices of all stakeholders to directly inform service improvement.


The implementation success of research into real world settings is dependent on factors that relate to the qualities of the innovation, the need for it, and the capacities and restraints of its users, i.e., patients, practitioners, planners/ managers and policymakers. Poor operationalisation of the innovation and poor understanding of the settings for which it is intended can thwart implementation. Often implementation could be described as attempting to ‘fit a square peg into a round hole’.

In public health and health services research, much attention must be paid to the conceptualisation stages of innovation generation. Success can be improved by genuine stakeholder engagement with co-development approaches. However, engagement of patients in research and implementation is often tokenistic and an unsatisfying experience for the patient, the practitioner and researcher.

The workshop will cover application of genuine engagement processes of both the user (e.g., patient) and the professional (practitioners and managers), as well as application of implementation optimisation protocols, to confirm the innovation is wanted, needed, fit-for-purpose, and implementable.

The Masterclass will focus on innovative approaches to stakeholder engagement, going beyond interviews, committee membership, satisfaction surveys, and focus groups. New efficient processes such as concept mapping and the use of multi-dimensional health literacy assessments will be outlined. The Ophelia (OPtimising HEalth LIteracy and Access) process will be introduced. This process uses ground-up and top-down approaches to developing interventions in health and social settings where the health literacy of the target population (patients/ community members) and the health literacy responsiveness of the health and social system are considered. The Ophelia approach uses three well-established processes: a) intervention mapping, b) care collabaoratives, and c) realist evaluation approaches.

At the heart of this workshop is a focus on health literacy – in this setting this concept is mainly used as a problem solving tool to assess and meet the needs of those people who do not access or benefit from existing services and approaches as much as others.

Learning objective

After attending this session, participants will have a broad understanding of health literacy-informed approaches to co-production across the spectrum of vulnerable community members through to policymakers. Participants will also explore the components of the Ophelia approach, and will be able to use these components in their own settings. Activities will be used to reinforce learning objectives.

Specific objectives

At the end of this session, participants will have made advancement towards being able to:

1. Describe the strengths and weaknesses of various patient engagement processes

2. Describe the various approaches to public health intervention development and the benefits of including co-production approaches.

3. Detail the ways in which health literacy determines patient-centred care

4. Describe a range of intervention development approaches that contribute to generating fit-for-purpose and implementable interventions

Small group activities

1. What makes projects founder?

2. How not to build user engagement – and how you might succeed in systematically and genuinely engaging with healthcare users. Explore user engagement in different settings, uncovering situations where it has gone wrong and gone right. Followed by a discussion on why do we want user engagement and for what purpose? How do we motivate genuine user engagement?

3. Use of vignettes of ordinary people as a starting point for stakeholder engagement and intervention development. Groups will work on finding solutions to health literacy-related issues revealed in vignettes. The process will cover user engagement, building stakeholder ownership and the revealing of implementable solutions grounded in practice.

About the presenters

Richard Osborne, Professor of Public Health, Deakin University.Richard is a health services researcher, with a biology and epidemiology background. He heads the Public Health Innovation unit at Deakin University and holds a prestigious NHMRC (akin to MRC) Senior Research Fellowship. He has developed questionnaires that have been implemented globally in the areas of health literacy, health education, influenza and prioritisation for hip and knee joint replacement. He has tested and developed a wide range of interventions in developed and/or developing countries. He consults for the WHO, and recently partnered with WHO-SEARO to publish the Health Literacy Toolkit for Low- and Middle Income Countries. He has authored over 160 peer-reviewed papers, and his research income has been over $18m.

His main interest is in developing systematic approaches to improving equity and health outcomes at scale, which includes the Ophelia (OPtimising HEalth LIteracy and Access) process for health literacy development and equity. He is currently supporting Public Health Wales and NHS England to develop and implement Ophelia pilots, where Ophelia is seen as a new crosscutting improvement technology. His workshops are based on a wealth of experience of programme successes (and failures), they are fast moving, fun, and at times, irreverent.

Alison Beauchamp, Research Fellow, Deakin University

Alison’s research focuses on the equitable provision of health programs and interventions. She is an ARC Post-doctoral Industry Fellow at Deakin University, where she manages the large ‘Ophelia (OPtimising HEalth LIterAcy) in Victoria’ study. In this study, the Ophelia Process is being implemented across eight organisations, where the co-production of health literacy interventions are being undertaken to improve outcomes and reduce health inequalities for people with chronic disease. To date, her role has been to manage this large project, including supporting participating organisations to generate innovative whole-of-organization approaches to improve health literacy.

She is increasingly recognised nationally and internationally as an expert in the area of health literacy and health equity. This is evidenced by invitations to speak at conferences and workshops in Australia, the USA and UK. Alison developed the Health Literacy Data Global Repository, based on the global network of Health Literacy Questionnaire users, which promises to generate new insights into the causes of, and solutions to, health inequalities. She has an extensive clinical background, and the combination of this experience and her research knowledge means she understands the complexities of applying interventions in ‘real world’ healthcare settings. Alison brings a practical, hands-on approach to health literacy workshops, using her experiences with Ophelia Victoria to illustrate and demonstrate key points.

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Sir Alwyn Williams Building, Level 5 Suite

18 Lilybank Gardens

G12 8QQ

United Kingdom

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