The Ophelia Approach

The Ophelia Approach is a system that supports the identification of community health literacy needs, and the development and testing of potential solutions.

The Ophelia approach

The Ophelia Approach involves the collaboration of a wide range of community members, community leaders, and workers to develop health literacy interventions that are based on needs identified within a community. Each Ophelia project seeks to improve health and equity by increasing the availability and accessibility of health information and services in locally-appropriate ways.

Batterham RW, Buchbinder R, Beauchamp A, Dodson S, Elsworth GR and Osborne RH. The OPtimising HEalth LIterAcy (Ophelia) process: study protocol for using health literacy profiling and community engagement to create and implement health reform. BMC Public Health 2014, 14:694

The Ophelia phases: 1 to 3

Each phase of the Ophelia process is drawn from three well-established methodological approaches: intervention mapping, quality improvement collaboratives, and realist synthesis. Tools and resources have been developed to support implementation of each phase.

The Ophelia phases

The Ophelia principles

The Ophelia principles guide Ophelia projects and ensure that, at each phase, the potential to improve health and equity through health literacy responses is optimised.

The Ophelia principles

The Ophelia manuals

The Ophelia approach provides a method and supportive tools that organisations, communities and projects can use to systematically identify and respond to local issues of access and engagement.

The Ophelia Manual provides a step-by-step guide to using the Ophelia approach. It is the first in a series of three documents.

The manual contains:

  • An overview of the three phases of the Ophelia approach
  • a detailed description of steps and activities involved in each phase, and suggestions for implementation of these activities including indicative time frames for each step.

Within this manual you will find case studies and examples describing how the Ophelia approach can be used in different settings.



The manual is supported by an Ophelia Templates and Additional Resources document that provides supporting tools, templates, and examples.



The background document Ophelia Toolkit provides an overview of the Ophelia approach, as well as key definitions and issues relating to health equity, health literacy, and health service and information access. It offers background reading that will assist you to effectively engage in activities to address local issues of concern.

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