Healthwise Helps You Make Better Health Decisions

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About Healthwise

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 survives heart attack

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.

Carolyn Brzezicki

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."

Robert Kloner, MD

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 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.

P.O. Box 1989
2601 N. Bogus Basin Road
Boise, Idaho 83701

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:

Medical Editors:

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:

Addiction Medicine

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

Emergency Medicine

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

Exercise Physiology

Heather O. Chambliss , PhD, FACSM, Exercise Science, Memphis, Tennessee

Richard B. Kreider , PhD, FACSM, FASEP, Exercise Physiology, Waco, Texas

Family Medicine

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

Geriatric Medicine

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

Infectious Diseases

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

Internal Medicine

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

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

William M. Gilbert , MD, Sacramento, California


Frances E. Likis , DrPH, NP, CNM, FACNM, FAAN, Nashville, Tennessee

Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine

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

Occupational Medicine

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

Physical Therapy

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

Respiratory Therapy

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

Speech Pathology

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

Content Managers

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

Medical Writers

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

Clinical Specialist

Tammie Sherner, MSN, APRN-CNS

Localization Specialists

Jennifer Adams, MLS

John Kubisiak, BS

Terry Smith, PhD

Associate Editors

Denele Ivins, BA

Michele Cronen

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

Visual Content

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.

Updating Topics

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.

AISLE7 TM/Healthnotes®

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