It’s important to be clear about what interviews are and are not. This helps support informed consent and consumer control of information. Interviews are a great way to learn about someone’s experience of health and healthcare. A good interview can be a powerful source of information for quality improvement, improved health policy and better decision-making in health organisations. Storytelling in interviews can provide essential information for system advocacy. 

Interviews aren’t an opportunity to seek or provide personal advocacy, or to redress or improve the specific personal situation of individual health consumers. Interviews are not counselling, nor are they a complaints process. They’re not a process for formally reporting an adverse event that may have occurred during a storyteller’s care or treatment. It is important to make the limitations of your storytelling project clear. 

This doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do if a storyteller discloses a difficult experience to you. For example if a storyteller has experienced an adverse events or wishes to make a formal complaint about the care or treatment they received, you may be able provide information about avenues that people can pursue. You could explain where they can address a complaint about a health service or professional, or where and how to report an adverse event. What’s important is that you make clear what an interview is, and isn’t, before you begin.