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Healthwise Reaches One Billion Better Health Decisions

June 8, 2011 - BOISE, ID

On June 8 at 3:07 p.m., people will have turned to Healthwise information one billion times to help them make better health decisions. Since 1975, Healthwise, a nonprofit organization, has been counting mission points. Mission points count every time Healthwise fulfills its mission of helping people make better health decisions. A digital counter in the lobby of the Healthwise headquarters continuously reports the number of mission points. On June 8, the counter will hit one billion.

"Our mission is simple and one that we've been loyal to since the day Healthwise was founded in 1975," said Donald W. Kemper, Healthwise chairman and CEO. "Medical science has changed. Our technology has evolved. Our partnerships have multiplied. But our mission remains the same."

Healthwise information and tools help people work with their doctors to get the care they need and answer these types of questions:

  • "My child has a fever and is rubbing her neck. Should I see a doctor now, or wait until morning?"
  • "My back pain has kept me from work again. Is surgery my best treatment choice?"
  • "My mother is increasingly frail. What are our options for giving her the support she needs?"

Healthwise licenses patient education materials to hospitals, health plans, medical clinics, web portals, and other organizations -- including WebMD, Atrius Health, CIGNA, HealthPartners, British Columbia Ministry of Health, and many Veteran medical centers -- that provide the tools and information to their members, patients, and website users. These organizations report back the number of times their patients, web visitors, or members use Healthwise information.

Each of the following is an example of how mission points are created:

  • A patient's reading of instructions from the doctor for home care for the flu.
  • A website visitor's use of an interactive decision aid on whether or not to have knee surgery.
  • A patient's visit with an online virtual health coach to learn new skills and understanding.

"The one-billionth use of our information will be no different from any other," said Kemper. "Our goal is to help people understand their options and then choose the care that is best for them."

Healthwise's long-term success can be credited to its continuous innovation in developing and producing health information and technology to reach and help people wherever they are -- through everything from books to mobile technology and from nurse call centers to interactive virtual health coaches.

It all started in May 1975 when Kemper established Healthwise as an independent, nonprofit organization. The first step was the "Healthwise® Handbook." Today more than 28 million copies have been distributed. With the Internet came the Healthwise® Knowledgebase, now a primary source of web-based consumer health information for millions of people. And the third step was information therapy -- when the right information is prescribed to the right person at the right time. Today clinicians provide thousands of "information prescriptions" to their patients every day.

With national attention focused on fixing the health care crisis, Healthwise's consumer-friendly health information helps people ask for the care they need while declining care that will not improve their lives. When people make informed decisions, they have the potential to improve care quality and lower health care costs.

About Healthwise
Healthwise is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help people make better health decisions. Over 100 million times a year, people turn to Healthwise information to learn how to do more for themselves, ask for the care they need, and say "no" to the care they don't need. Healthwise partners with hospitals, electronic medical record (EMR) providers, health plans, disease management companies, and health websites to provide up-to-date, evidence-based information to the people they serve., 1.800.706.9646

The Four Eras of Healthwise Innovation

  • 1975-1994: Self-Care and Wellness Handbooks and Workshops
    Healthwise published the "Healthwise Handbook" with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the National Center for Health Services Research. Since then, Healthwise has distributed more than 33 million copies of our self-care guides in partnership with our clients.

  • 1995-2001: Consumer Health Websites
    In 1996, when the Internet became widely available, Healthwise launched the online Healthwise Knowledgebase. With one hundred times more information than the handbook, the Healthwise Knowledgebase quickly became the primary source of web-based consumer health information and call center support.

  • 2002-2011: Information Prescriptions From Your Doctor
    In 2002, Healthwise pioneered the concept of Information Therapy (Ix®), the timely prescription of evidence-based health information. Every day, thousands of patients get "information prescriptions" from their care team to help make better health decisions.

  • 2012 and beyond: Virtual Visits, Incentives, and Patient Response
    The next phase of the Healthwise journey will focus on extending the care team reach to support engaged, activated, and informed medical consumers.

© 2011, Healthwise, Incorporated.
Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise.

Tara Troutman
Phone: 208.387.6763
Email: Email Contact


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