Understanding the effect that nuances in language can have on effective health communication is the thrust of a new tool launched by Healthline Media.
Healthline said it published guidelines for so-called conscious language in order to help healthcare providers to be more intentional in how they communicate about health inequities and stigmas around issues like disability and mental health. That’s especially important when it comes to marginalized communities and the barriers they face in accessing care.
“The research is clear: words matter,” Dria Barnes, SVP of content and brand strategy at Healthline, said in a statement. “Conscious language isn’t about limiting what people can say, it’s about expanding representation and ultimately improving people’s health. Greater awareness of the words we use can help create a more humane, inclusive and effective healthcare system.”
The guide, of a piece with Healthline Media’s Transform initiative launched in July, includes advice on different factors that go into crafting language, such as framing and phrasing, acknowledging bias as well as inclusivity. It’s grounded in the research on healthcare communication, as well as input from community members.