Healthwise Helps You Make Better Health DecisionsSkip to the navigation
Healthwise is a nonprofit organization founded in 1975 with the mission to help people make better health decisions. More than 100 million times a year people like you use Healthwise® information to take an active role in their health.
The best formula for making health decisions is to combine the most reliable medical facts with your personal feelings. Put more simply: Medical Information + Your Information = Better Health Decisions.
Your decisions influence your overall well-being as well as the quality and cost of your care. By taking an active role in your health, you are likely to be happier with the care you receive and the results you achieve.
Read these Healthwise stories to see how Healthwise helps people make better health decisions.
Patricia used the Healthwise Knowledgebase to save her own life.
Patricia had just finished her Saturday-morning chores when her lungs began burning. She was sweating and had some numbness in her arms. She drew a bath thinking, "I must be having a panic attack—I'll be all right if I can just relax."
A few hours later, the 42-year-old still felt like she had "an elephant sitting on my chest." Patricia canceled her usual horse-riding lesson and took a nap instead. When she awoke, she felt even worse.
"Then I thought: Check [the Healthwise® Knowledgebase on] the Internet," says Patricia. "I had almost every heart attack symptom described in the Healthwise® Knowledgebase. I knew I had to get to the hospital right away!"
Hospital tests confirmed that Patricia had indeed had a heart attack, and the following Tuesday she had triple-bypass heart surgery. Today, Patricia is back in the saddle, riding horses and enjoying life.
Count on Carolyn Brzezicki—Healthwise clinical specialist and writer, mom, sister, friend, and registered nurse.
"Stories like Patricia's inspire our work every day," says Carolyn Brzezicki. "Each of us at Healthwise thinks about our own stories of how we've turned to our information to help our families, friends, and ourselves make better decisions."
Carolyn, a Healthwise clinical specialist, writer, and content developer, focuses on helping people live better with diabetes. She also reviews the studies, medical literature, and guidelines to assess how new findings in diabetes may affect the content.
Living within just a few miles of her extended family, Carolyn is able to be there for them when they need her—when they're feeling great or not so great. Just like you, she looks for information that's easy to use and understand for her and her family.
Her volunteer work in a diabetes-nutrition center, with hospice, and as a facilitator for a bereavement support group reminds her how confusing medical issues can be. So when she's at work, she always thinks about what's most important for people to know and how it should be explained.
"Because I'm a registered nurse, family and friends call me with questions about a medical test, a new medicine, or what to do about an issue. I always go straight to the Healthwise Knowledgebase," says Carolyn. "Over the years, Healthwise has helped me in so many ways. I'm so proud of our work and how it makes a real difference in people's lives."
World-class heart doctor Robert Kloner, MD, PhD, is in your corner.
Robert Kloner is one of 295 experts who review Healthwise information for accuracy and currency. He helps us help you make better health decisions on heart-related issues.
Dr. Kloner is known as one of America's leading heart experts. For the past 30 years Dr. Kloner has taught at medical schools, participated in major research projects, and contributed to medical journal articles. He is professor of medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. He is also director of research at the Heart Institute of Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles and an attending cardiologist at Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical School.
Dr. Kloner previously directed the Cardiac Research Laboratory at Harvard Medical School. He has also edited 18 authoritative medical texts.
"Good information is critical to good health and good health care," says Dr. Kloner. "With easy-to-understand, reliable information, people can make good decisions. When I hear stories like Patricia's, I'm especially gratified to be part of the Healthwise review team."
Healthwise benefits from readers' input to keep our content helpful. Send us your comments by contacting your sponsoring organization or by emailing Healthwise at email@example.com. If you contact Healthwise, you can expect a reply within about two weeks. For answers to your specific health issues, contact your health professional. Or if you think you need care right away, call 911 or other emergency services.
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Last updated: March 2011
Healthwise Medical Review Board
The Healthwise Medical Review Board is directed by our chief medical officer, Dr. Martin J. Gabica, and our medical directors, Dr. Adam C. Husney, Dr. Kathleen Romito, and Dr. Mary McNaughton Collins, all board-certified physicians. Dr. Catherine Serio provides leadership on behavioral health issues for all Healthwise products. There is also a panel of board-certified Associate Medical Directors and Medical Editors who are involved in the planning, product and content development, and the regular and routine review of content written by Healthwise.
Chief Medical Officer: Martin J. Gabica, MD, Family Medicine, Boise, Idaho
Medical Director: Adam C. Husney, MD, Family Medicine, Boise, Idaho
Medical Director: Kathleen Romito, MD, Family Medicine, Boise, Idaho
Medical Director: Mary McNaughton Collins, MD, Internal Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Director, Behavioral Health: Catherine Serio, PhD, Psychology, Boise, Idaho
Associate Medical Directors:
- John Pope, MD, Pediatrics, Phoenix, Arizona
- E. Gregory Thompson, MD, Internal Medicine, Boise, Idaho
- David E. Arterburn, MD, MPH, Internal Medicine, Seattle, Washington
- Steven J. Atlas, MD, MPH, Internal Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
- Michael F. Bierer, MD, Internal Medicine/Addiction Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
- L. Ebony Boulware, MD, Internal Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
- Karen J. Carlson, MD, Internal Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
- Wendy Y. Chen, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Boston, Massachusetts
- O. Kenrik Duru, MD, Internal Medicine, Los Angeles, California
- Joann G. Elmore, MD, MPH, FACP, Internal Medicine/Infectious Disease, Seattle, Washington
- Kathleen M. Fairfield, MD, MPH, DrPH, Internal Medicine, Portland, Maine
- Rafael (Ralph) Gonzales, MD, MSPH, Internal Medicine, San Francisco, California
- Ethan A. Halm, MD, MPH, Internal Medicine, Dallas, Texas
- Katherine E. Hartmann, MD, MPH, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Nashville, Tennessee
- Richard M. Hoffman, MD, MPH, Internal Medicine, Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Jeffrey N. Katz, MD, Rheumatology, Boston, Massachusetts
- Nancy L. Keating, MD, MPH, Internal Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
- Jean S. Kutner, MD, MSPH, Geriatrics, Aurora, Colorado
- Carol M. Mangione, MD, MSPH, Internal Medicine, Los Angeles, California
- Michael P. Pignone, MD, MPH, FACP, Internal Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
- Neil R. Powe, MD, MPH, Internal Medicine, Oakland, California
- Karen R. Sepucha, PhD, Health Decisions Science, Boston, Massachusetts
- John W. Williams Jr., MD, MHSc, Internal Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
- John B. Wong, MD, Internal Medicine/Clinical Decision Making, Boston, Massachusetts
The Healthwise Medical Review Board also includes health professionals and medical specialists who review Healthwise content from a specialist's point of view. Their credentials include board certification, licensure, and/or registration; academic appointments at leading medical schools; involvement in research; and publication in peer-reviewed journals and medical textbooks. Most important, they share the Healthwise commitment to empowering patients with reliable health information and building strong patient-provider relationships. This encourages partnerships in the decision-making process. With input from these specialists, and with oversight by one of the Medical Directors or Medical Editors, Healthwise medical writers develop health information based on scientific evidence and current clinical practice.
Before approving reviewers, Healthwise verifies that they have current licenses, registrations, and certifications with state or national agencies. We also verify with bodies that certify in specialty areas, if appropriate. The reviewers must be in good standing with these organizations during the time they review Healthwise content. We check this standing at least every 3 years. In addition, reviewers agree to notify Healthwise immediately if the status of their licenses, registrations, or certifications changes. The following physicians and health professionals are members of the Healthwise Medical Review Board:
Michael F. Bierer, MD, Internal Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
Allergy and Immunology
Rohit K Katial, MD, Denver, Colorado
Lora J. Stewart, MD, Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, Denver, Colorado
John M. Freedman, MD, Anesthesiology, Santa Rosa, California
Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC, Interventional Cardiology, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD, Los Angeles, California
John A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI, Interventional Cardiology, Nashville, Tennessee
John M. Miller, MD, Electrophysiology, Indianapolis, Indiana
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC, Electrophysiology, Boise, Idaho
George J. Philippides, MD, FACC, Boston, Massachusetts
Rita F. Redberg, MD, San Francisco, California
Christine Goertz, DC, PhD, Davenport, Iowa
Arden G. Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD, Indianapolis, Indiana
William F. Hohlt, DDS, Orthodontics, Indianapolis, Indiana
Steven K. Patterson, BSc, DDS, MPH, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Bryan D. Tompson, DDS, FRCDC, Orthodontics, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Randall D. Burr, MD, Boise, Idaho
Amy McMichael, MD, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Ellen K. Roh, MD, Boston, Massachusetts
Diet and Nutrition
Colleen Gobert, PhD, RD, Registered Dietitian, London, Ontario, Canada
Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE, Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, Boise, Idaho
William H. Blahd Jr, MD, FACEP, New York, New York
David Messenger, BSc, MD, FRCPC, FCCP, Critical Care Medicine, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
H. Michael O' Connor, MD, MMEd, FRCPC, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism
Alan C. Dalkin, MD, Charlottesville, Virginia
Jennifer Hone, MD, Santa Barbara, California
Lois Jovanovic, MD, Gestational Diabetes, Santa Barbara, California
Matthew I. Kim, MD, Boston, Massachusetts
David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Martin Englund, MD, Lund, Sweden
Leslie A. Tengelsen, PhD, DVM, Zoonotic Diseases, Boise, Idaho
William S. Marras, PhD, CPE, Bioengineering and Ergonomics, Columbus, Ohio
Heather O. Chambliss, PhD, FACSM, Exercise Science, Memphis, Tennessee
Richard B. Kreider, PhD, FACSM, FASEP, Exercise Physiology, Waco, Texas
Thomas M. Bailey, MD, CCFP, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Patrice Burgess, MD, FAAFP, Boise, Idaho
Christine H. Fordyce, MD, Geriatrics, Seattle, Washington
Martin J. Gabica, MD, Boise, Idaho
Adam C. Husney, MD, Boise, Idaho
Lawrence Leeman, MD, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Sarah Marshall, MD, Sacramento, California
Kathleen Romito, MD, Boise, Idaho
Donald Sproule, MD, CM, CCFP, FCFP, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Peter J. Kahrilas, MD, Chicago, Illinois
Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Jerry S. Trier, MD, Boston, Massachusetts
Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD, FACP, FACG, Chicago, Illinois
Siobhan M. Dolan, MD, MPH, Medical Genetics, Bronx, New York
Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Jean S. Kutner, MD, MSPH, Geriatrics, Aurora, Colorado
Elizabeth A. Phelan, MD, MS, Seattle, Washington
Health Decisions Science
Karen R. Sepucha, PhD, Health Decisions Science, Boston, Massachusetts
Wendy Y. Chen, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Boston, Massachusetts
Jeffrey S. Ginsberg, MD, FRCPC, Hematology, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC, Hematology, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Joseph F. O'Donnell, MD, Hanover, New Hampshire
Michael S. Rabin, MD, Medical Oncology, Boston, Massachusetts
Jimmy Ruiz, MD, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Martin H. Steinberg, MD, Hematology, Boston, Massachusetts
Douglas A. Stewart, MD, FRCPC, Medical Oncology, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
W. Thomas London, MD, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Robin L. Fainsinger, MB, ChB, LMCC, CCFP, Palliative Medicine, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Shelly R. Garone, MD, Roseville, California
W. David Colby, IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC, Travel Medicine and Tropical Diseases, London, Ontario, Canada
Christine Hahn, MD, Medical Epidemiology, Boise, Idaho
Peter Shalit, MD, PhD, Internal Medicine, Seattle, Washington
Dennis L. Stevens, MD, PhD, Boise, Idaho
Raymond A. Strikas, MD, MPH, FACS, Atlanta, Georgia
David E. Arterburn, MD, MPH, Seattle, Washington
Steven J. Atlas, MD, MPH, Boston, Massachusetts
L. Ebony Boulware, MD, Durham, North Carolina
Karen J. Carlson, MD, Boston, Massachusetts
Roger Chou, MD, Portland, Oregon
O. Kenrik Duru, MD, Los Angeles, California
Joann G. Elmore, MD, MPH, FACP, Internal Medicine/Infectious Disease, Seattle, Washington
Kathleen M. Fairfield, MD, MPH, DrPH, Portland, Maine
Rafael (Ralph) Gonzales, MD, MSPH, San Francisco, California
Ethan A. Halm, MD, MPH, Dallas, Texas
Richard M. Hoffman, MD, MPH, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Nancy L. Keating, MD, MPH, Boston, Massachusetts
Carol M. Mangione, MD, MSPH, Los Angeles, California
Brigid McCaw, MD, MPH, MS, FACP, Family Violence, Oakland, California
Mary McGrae McDermott, MD, Chicago, Illinois
Mary McNaughton Collins, MD, Boston, Massachusetts
Brian O'Brien, MD, FRCPC, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Michael P. Pignone, MD, MPH, FACP, Durham, North Carolina
Anne C. Poinier, MD, Boise, Idaho
Neil R. Powe, MD, MPH, Oakland, California
Caroline Rhoads, MD, Seattle, Washington
Michael Rothberg, MD, Cleveland, Ohio
E. Gregory Thompson, MD, Boise, Idaho
John W. Williams Jr., MD, MHSc, Durham, North Carolina
John B. Wong, MD, Internal Medicine/Clinical Decision Making, Boston, Massachusetts
William M. Gilbert, MD, Sacramento, California
Frances E. Likis, DrPH, NP, CNM, FACNM, FAAN, Nashville, Tennessee
Kim E. Dow, MD, FRCPC, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Jennifer Merchant, MD, Boise, Idaho
Michael Mallea, MD, Boise, Idaho
Mitchell H. Rosner, MD, Charlottesville, Virginia
Tushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP, Clemmons, North Carolina
Colin H. Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Barrie J. Hurwitz, MB, MRCP, FCP(SA), Durham, North Carolina
Karin M. Lindholm, DO, Hailey, Idaho
Steven C. Schachter, MD, Boston, Massachusetts
G. Frederick Wooten Jr., MD, Charlottesville, Virginia
Teresa L. McGillick, RN, Boise, Idaho
Gayle Stauffer, RN, Boise, Idaho
Rebecca H. Allen, MD, MPH, Providence, Rhode Island
Divya Gupta, MD, Gynecologic Oncology New York, New York
Katherine E. Hartmann, MD, MPH, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Nashville, Tennessee
Kirtly Jones, MD, Reproductive Endocrinology, Salt Lake City, Utah
Kevin C. Kiley, MD, FACOG, Albany, New York
Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC, FACOG, Reproductive Endocrinology, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Deborah A. Penava, MD, FRCSC, MPH, London, Ontario, Canada
Peter M. Rabinowitz, MD, MPH, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
Carol L. Karp, MD, Miami, Florida
Christopher Joseph Rudnisky, MD, BMs, MPH, FRCSC, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Paul R. Calat, DMD, New York, New York
Davide Bardana, MD, FRCSC, Sports Medicine, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Freddie H. Fu, MD, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Robert B. Keller, MD, Biddeford, Maine
Kenneth J. Koval, MD, Orthopaedic Trauma, Lebanon, New Hampshire
Patrick J. McMahon, MD, Sports Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
David Pichora, MD, FRCSC, Trauma, Hand and Microsurgery, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Herbert von Schroeder, MD, MSc, FRCSC, Hand and Microsurgery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Donald R. Mintz, MD, FRCSC, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Charles M. Myer III, MD, Pediatric Otolaryngology, Cincinnati, Ohio
Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Susan Kim, MD, Boise, Idaho
Stephen H. LaFranchi, MD, Pediatric Endocrinology, Portland, Oregon
Chuck Norlin, MD, Salt Lake City, Utah
Louis Pellegrino, MD, Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Syracuse, New York
John Pope, MD, Pediatric Hospitalist, Phoenix, Arizona
Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH, Seattle, Washington
Margaret Hetherington, PharmD, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Theresa O'Young, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacist, Seattle, Washington
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Margaret M. Doucette, DO, Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, Boise, Idaho
Nancy E. Greenwald, MD, Boise, Idaho
Richard D. Zorowitz , MD, Baltimore, Maryland
David A. Fleckenstein, MPT, Boise, Idaho
Mary McVicars Heckel, PT, MAPT, CLT-LANA, CWS, Boise, Idaho
Joan Rigg, PT, OCS, Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, Boise, Idaho
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Keith A. Denkler, MD, Larkspur, California
Podiatry and Podiatric Surgery
Gavin W.G. Chalmers, DPM, FACFAS, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Barry L. Scurran, DPM, Fremont, California
W. Stewart Agras, MD, FRCPC, Palo Alto, California
David A. Brent, MD, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Evan Eyler, MD, MPH, Adolescent and Psychosomatic Medicine, Burlington, Vermont
Alfred J. Lewy, MD, PhD, Portland, Oregon
Steven Locke, MD, Psychosomatic Medicine and Behavioral Health, Wayland, Massachusetts
Fred R. Volkmar, MD, Pediatric Psychiatry, New Haven, Connecticut
Myron F. Weiner, MD, Geriatric Psychiatry, Dallas, Texas
Lisa S. Weinstock, MD, Mount Kisco, New York
Sidney Zisook, MD, San Diego, California
Susan W. Butterworth, PhD, Behavioral Health, Portland, Oregon
Jessica Hamblen, PhD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, White River Junction, Vermont
Christine R. Maldonado, PhD, Behavioral Health, Boise, Idaho
Catherine Serio, PhD, Behavioral Health, Boise, Idaho
Timothy Stockwell, PhD, Public Policy, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Robert L. Cowie, MB, ChB, MD, MSc, FCP[SA], MFOM, Respiratory Medicine, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Hasmeena Kathuria, MD, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
Susanna A. McColley, MD, Pediatric Pulmonology, Chicago, Illinois
Mark A. Rasmus, MD, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Boise, Idaho
R. Steven Tharratt, MD, FACP, FCCP, Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine, Toxicology, Sacramento, California
Myo Min Han, MD, Nuclear Medicine, Oakland, California
Howard B. Schaff, MD, Diagnostic Radiology, Boise, Idaho
Catherine O'Malley, RRT, Chicago, Illinois
Richa Dhawan, MD, Shreveport, Louisiana
Jeffrey N. Katz, MD, Rheumatology, Boston, Massachusetts
Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH, Boston, Massachusetts
Robert M. Kroll, PhD, Speech Pathology, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Kenneth Bark, MD, General and Colorectal Surgery, Utica, Michigan
Jeffrey Gilbertson, MD, Vascular Surgery, Boise, Idaho
Vikram S. Iyer, MD, FRCSC, General and Vascular Surgery, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
John Loeser, MD, FAANS, Neurological Surgery, Seattle, Washington
Mark G. Luciano, MD, Pediatric Neurosurgery, Cleveland, Ohio
C. Dale Mercer, MD, FRCSC, FACS, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Michael M. Murr, MD, Gastrointestinal Surgery, Tampa, Florida
Brent T. Shoji, MD, Boston, Massachusetts
David C. Stuesse, MD, Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery, Boise, Idaho
David A. Szalay, MD, Vascular Surgery, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Ali Tavakkoli, MD, Bariatric Surgery, Boston, Massachusetts
Brad W. Warner, MD, Pediatric Surgery/Critical Care, St. Louis, Missouri
Christian G. Zimmerman, MD, FACS, MBA, Neurological Surgery, Boise, Idaho
Peter Anderson, MD, FRCS), Pediatric Urology, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Avery L. Seifert, MD, FACS, Boise, Idaho
Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS, Houston, Texas
Last updated: May 2015
Healthwise Content Development Team
Senior Vice President
Karen Baker, MHS
Vice President of Content
Christine Calhoun, MPH
Carrie Henley, BA
Deborah Dakins, BA
Doug Dana, BA
Katy Magee, MA
Kerry Cooke, BA
Jeannette Curtis, BS
Judi Marsh, MBA
Monica Rhodes, BA
Patrick Kilby, BA
Sherri Frank Mazzotta, BA
Senior Clinical Consultants
Carolyn Brzezicki, RN, MS
Judy Dundas, BA, BSN
Senior Special Project Manager
Kathleen M. Ariss, MS
Bill Amos, JD
Christopher Hess, BA
Colleen Cronin, MA
Cynthia Tank, BA
Eileen Ellig, BJ
Kathe Gallagher, MSW
Lila Havens, MA
Marianne Flagg, BA
Nancy Bateman, BS
Paul Lehnert, MA
Ryan Powers, MFA
Medical Content Specialists
Arlene Hull, MS, CES
Bets Davis, MFA
Chad Parmet, BA
Jan Anderson, RN
Jan Nissl, RN, BS
Maria G. Essig, MS
Robin Parks, MS, MSTC
Sandy Jocoy, RN, BA
Shannon Erstad, RPT, MBA, MPH
Tammie Sherner, MSN, APRN-CNS
Jennifer Adams, MLS
John Kubisiak, BS
Terry Smith, PhD
Denele Ivins, BA
Pat Truman, MA
Terrina Vail, BA
Tracy Landauer, BA
Senior Research Library Manager
Liisa Rogers, MSW, MLIS
Medical Librarians/Senior Research Associates
Julie Beauregard, MLIS
Karri Alderson, MLIS
Bill Coe, BS
David Henderson, BS
Jennifer Farnum, MLS
Melanie Wilson, MLS
David Blum, PhD
Steve Graepel, MS
Last updated: November 2014
Healthwise® Knowledgebase Editorial Policy and Processes
The field of medicine changes constantly. Each day headlines reveal new ways to diagnose, treat, or prevent health problems. Through a comprehensive topic development process, the Healthwise® Knowledgebase content is regularly updated to keep pace with the changes in medicine and medical practice.
See What's New in the Healthwise® Knowledgebase for the current release.
Content Written by Healthwise
Healthwise develops content through the collaborative efforts of content and medical teams using a comprehensive research and review process.
The Healthwise content team includes full-time professional medical researchers, writers, and editors who have extensive experience in scientific research and medical writing. They work closely with members of the Healthwise medical team, including the chief medical officer, the medical director, the associate medical directors, and the Healthwise Medical Review Board.
The Healthwise Medical Review Board includes more than 220 health professionals and medical specialists who review Healthwise content from a specialist's point of view. Their credentials include board certification, licensure/registration and/or certification, academic appointments at leading medical schools, involvement in research, and publication in peer-reviewed journals and medical textbooks. Most important, they share the Healthwise commitment to empowering patients with reliable health information and building strong patient-provider relationships.
Healthwise content starts with evidence-based information. Content team members are experts at presenting balanced, unbiased perspectives without influence from commercial interests. Our Conflict of Interest policy enforces our editorial integrity: "All Healthwise personnel should avoid situations where their personal interests could conflict, or reasonably appear to conflict, with the interests of Healthwise. In this regard, personnel must avoid any outside financial interest that might influence, or appear to influence, their corporate decisions or actions."
Topic Development Process
There are four primary steps in the development process: planning, research, writing, and review.
- Writers, editors, and associate medical directors work together to plan the topic.
- Medical librarians develop a research packet for each topic based on extensive research and evaluation of biomedical literature. Research packets include evidence-based journal and database search results, gold standard textbook chapters, guideline statements, and outcome studies, as well as consumer health information.
- Writing and review cycles include collaboration among medical directors and other clinicians. Writers and editors also collaborate to ensure that the content is in plain language, follows literacy standards, and meets user-centered learning theory and behavior-change principles.
- An associate medical director and at least one specialist review topics during the development process. They ensure accuracy and consistency with current practice standards and identify areas of important development. These independent medical reviewers ensure that Healthwise® Knowledgebase topics contain accurate, unbiased information.
New Topic Development
Healthwise selects new topics on the basis of several criteria, including requests from consumers and organizations using the Healthwise® Knowledgebase, prevalence of the condition, and the potential of shared decision-making for consumers who have the condition.
Healthwise updates topics when warranted by changes in medical practice. The content and medical teams continually review medical news sources and journals so they can quickly identify changes that affect the practice of medicine. When important changes occur, we update topics and include them in the next quarterly release of the Healthwise® Knowledgebase. In addition, Healthwise reviews and updates topics on a regular basis.
Organizations and people using the Healthwise® Knowledgebase may suggest changes or additions to topics. Healthwise considers these recommendations during the topic development process and includes them in our updates if they meet our standard criteria and pass the medical review process. If a suggested change applies only to a particular sponsoring organization's readers, and if it passes medical review, then we may make the change for that organization's customized version of the Healthwise® Knowledgebase. Any change to the Healthwise® Knowledgebase must first pass medical review.
The last revised date is at the bottom of every topic page and in the credits section of each topic.
Citing the Evidence
The Healthwise® Knowledgebase contains thousands of unique references to help readers find more information on topics. Our processes and policies ensure that entry points of content give readers reasonable access to references. We include citations that:
- Support statistics, particularly those that play a key role in decision making.
- Support outcomes, effectiveness, or risk data.
- Identify testing or treatment recommendations or guidelines.
- Support prevalence data.
Also, for all self-assessment or risk analysis tools in the Healthwise® Knowledgebase, we provide information that describes the source of the tool, the scientific basis for the tool, how the tool is maintained on the website, the evaluation process, and the last revised date.
Content Written by Third Parties
Cerner Multum, Inc., Drug Reference (not included in all systems)
The drug reference included in the Healthwise® Knowledgebase is provided by Cerner Multum, Inc., of Denver, Colorado.
Multum updates daily. New information is incorporated into a database as soon as it appears in the literature or in product labeling. Doctors and pharmacists review the new information and make any necessary changes. Multum conducts weekly Current Content searches on all of its drugs, and it surveys all key periodicals. All leaflets are reviewed by one or more practicing clinical specialists. Healthwise receives monthly updates from Multum. The updates are included in the quarterly releases of the Healthwise® Knowledgebase.
Conflict of Interest Policy: Multum's content is authored by full-time associates with no affiliations with drug companies. Consultants who work with the information in other capacities are required to have no conflicts of interest.
The date of the last update is at the end of each topic.
National Cancer Institute (NCI) Topics
NCI Physician Data Query (PDQ®) topics in the Healthwise® Knowledgebase are provided by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Public Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services.
All PDQ cancer information summaries are peer-reviewed and updated monthly by six editorial boards of oncology specialists in adult treatment, pediatric treatment, supportive care, complementary and alternative medicine, screening, prevention, and cancer genetics. They review current literature from more than 70 biomedical journals, evaluate its relevance, and synthesize it into concise, clear summaries. Healthwise receives monthly updates from the National Cancer Institute. The updates are included in the quarterly releases of the Healthwise® Knowledgebase.
Conflict of Interest Policy: PDQ Editorial Board members are selected by the editor-in-chief of each board. Potential biases or conflicts of interest are discussed as part of the selection process.
The date of the last update is at the end of each topic.
National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. (NORD)
The National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc., of Danbury, Connecticut, provides topics on rare diseases for the Healthwise® Knowledgebase.
The NORD topics are updated on an ongoing basis as new information. In addition, all topics are periodically reviewed to ensure that all information remains current and accurate. Healthwise receives quarterly updates from NORD. The updates are included in the quarterly releases of the Healthwise® Knowledgebase.
Conflict of Interest Policy: NORD uses independent sources such as the National Institutes of Health and U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its information on standard and investigational therapies. It does not rely on commercial sources for anything other than brief notices that clinical trials are in progress. NORD does not ask researchers at academic institutions directly involved in studies of particular therapeutics to provide or review information related to treatment of the disease in question. When a report is written by a physician or other medical professional rather than by one of NORD's own writers, NORD has it reviewed by an MD or PhD with appropriate expertise at a different institution. To obtain input from more than one medical perspective, NORD does not allow a report to be reviewed by someone who has participated in research or clinical activities with the author of the report. NORD's staff regularly reviews several medical journals and, if any discrepancies in opinion related to information in a report are found, members of the Medical Advisory Committee provide guidance.
The date of the last update is at the end of each topic.
Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, Healthnotes, Inc., dba AISLE7 is the premier provider of reliable, easy-to-use health, food, and lifestyle information.
Each year AISLE7 reviews tens of thousands of articles and more than 600 medical and scientific journals to ensure that the content stays current, factual, and balanced. Citations identify the source, the authors, and where and when the information was first published. The AISLE7 editorial team includes medical doctors, pharmacists, chiropractors, naturopaths, and dietitians. The Medical Advisory Board includes medical doctors and experts affiliated with leading medical schools, such as the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Healthwise receives quarterly updates from AISLE7. The updates are included in the quarterly releases of the Healthwise®Knowledgebase.
The date of the last review is at the end of each topic.
Last updated: February 2011
Healthwise Quality Standards
Healthwise is committed to providing consumers with high-quality health information so that they can make wise health decisions in partnership with their doctors. We adhere to the following principles:
- We will create health information that is in the consumer's best interest.
- We will not allow commercial interests to determine our content.
- We pledge to protect the privacy of individuals using our website.
- We provide referenced, frequently updated, evidence-based health information.
Healthwise ensures compliance with these principles through internal review and URAC accreditation.
Last updated: May 2009
Date adopted: May 2005
Healthwise Advertising Policy
Healthwise does not include advertisements in the Healthwise® Knowledgebase; however, sponsoring organizations may include advertisements outside but adjacent to Healthwise® Knowledgebase content. These advertisements may have been selected based upon the specific topic being viewed. Advertisements are controlled by the sponsoring organization. For more information, check the advertisement policy of the sponsoring organization.
Last updated: August 2007
Date adopted: August 2000
Healthwise Ownership and Funding Disclosure
Healthwise is committed to producing quality health information for consumers so that they can make wise decisions with their doctors. Healthwise health information is not determined by commercial interests.
Healthwise is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization.
Healthwise receives revenue from the following sources:
- Sale of self-care guides
- Licensing of health content and software products to hospitals, health plans, employers, health websites and other organizations. Healthwise may receive revenue based on advertising and e-commerce revenue that is generated on our clients' websites.
- Grants from foundations and government agencies
- Other sources that account for minimal revenues
Last updated: August 2007
Date adopted: August 2000
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