SOURCE: Healthwise


September 22, 2009 08:00 ET

Healthwise Releases Breakthrough Tools in Medical Decision Making

New Decision Points Feature Cutting-Edge Innovation

BOISE, ID--(Marketwire - September 22, 2009) - Healthwise has released a new, interactive generation of its Decision Points to help people make better decisions with their doctors.

More than 10 million times a year, consumers turn to Healthwise Decision Points when they want to know: Do I need this test? Do I need this drug? Do I need this surgery? With national attention focused on helping people get the best medical care without waste, Healthwise Decision Points are now even better at helping patients ask for the care they need while declining care that will not improve their lives.

"For 147 of the most important and perplexing medical decisions patients face, Healthwise provides tools that are simple to use and remarkably helpful," said Don Kemper, Healthwise chief executive officer. "The advances delivered through the new generation of Decision Points are extraordinary."

The new Decision Points feature path-breaking innovation in ease of use, online interactivity, and decision quality.

Used on a computer at home or in the doctor's office, Decision Points guide patients, step by step, through treatment, test, and other options. Interactive sliders allow patients to tailor each decision based on what's important to them and to understand what to do next. The quality of the decision is assured through confirmation questions that check patients' understanding and readiness to choose. Finally, people can print out personalized summaries of their Decision Points, which they can use in important conversations with loved ones and their health care teams.

How Decision Points Work

The foundation of Healthwise Decision Points is evidence-based medicine and consumer-centered testing and design. They are informed by the International Patient Decision Aids Standards (IPDAS), which emphasize health care decisions aligned with personal preferences. Through Decision Points' six-step structure, patients can:

1.  Get the facts, explore options, and get answers to common questions.
2.  Compare options and read stories by people who faced a similar
3.  Gauge their feelings and record their concerns.
4.  Assess which way they are leaning by using an interactive slider tool.
5.  Check how much they've learned and how confident they are about their
6.  Print a summary of their answers and notes that can be shared with
    providers and loved ones.

Use a Decision Point Now

To demo a sample Healthwise Decision Point on knee replacement surgery, visit

Where Can Patients Find Healthwise Decision Points?

Many health plans, hospitals, consumer health portals, and disease management companies license Healthwise Decision Points for their Web sites. Healthwise has just released the new tools to its clients. Patients will begin to see the new Decision Points on their favorite health Web sites in the coming weeks.

Industry Support for Decision Aids

Decision aids like Healthwise Decision Points are particularly important for complex health decisions that involve multiple options, scientific uncertainties, cost differences, and risk-benefit trade-offs. Expert perspectives suggest that decision aids have the potential to improve quality and efficiency in the health care system.(1)

A review by Cochrane, a recognized leader in decision aids studies, identified trials of seven conditions commonly treated surgically among the Medicare population: arthritis of the hip and knee; low back pain from a herniated disc; chest pain (stable angina); enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH); and early-stage prostate and breast cancer. The review showed that although the number of people who chose surgery after shared decision making (compared to control groups) varied from study to study, a 21-percent to 44-percent decline in surgery was typical.(2)

Should Use Be Rewarded or Required?

To read the white paper by Don Kemper, "Carrot or Stick? Should the Use of Patient Decision Aids Be Rewarded or Required?" visit

About Healthwise

Healthwise is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help people make better health decisions. Nearly 120 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 that doesn't improve their lives. Healthwise licenses its content to health plans, hospitals, disease management companies, and health Web sites to provide up-to-date, evidence-based information to the people they serve. To learn more about Healthwise Decision Points, visit or call 1.800.706.9646.

(1) "Informed Patient Choice: Patient-Centered Valuing of Surgical Risks and Benefits," by James N. Weinstein, Kate Clay, and Tamara S. Morgan, published in Health Affairs, suggests that decision aids have the potential to improve quality and efficiency in the health care system. (Weinstein J, Clay K, Morgan T. 2007. "Informed Patient Choice: Patient-Centered Valuing Of Surgical Risks and Benefits," Health Affairs, 26:726-730).

(2) A.M. O'Connor et al., "Decision Aids for People Facing Health Treatment or Screening Decisions," Cochrane Database Syst Rev, no. 2 (2003): CD001431.

© 2009, Healthwise, Incorporated.

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


Contact Information

  • Healthwise
    Brenda Foster
    Phone: 208.331.6963
    E-mail: Email Contact