Healthwise Unveils Information Therapy: Health care providers will write information prescriptions as a supplement to clinic visits, tests, and treatments.
Healthwise, Incorporated, a long-standing nonprofit leader in producing medical information for consumers, has launched a Âprescription informationÂ concept called information therapy. Healthwise unveiled today the new Washington, D. C.-based Center for Information Therapy (CIT) and an 11-member commission to support information therapy programs among doctors, hospitals, and health plans.
(PRWEB) January 26, 2002
Contact: Brenda Foster
Phone: 208-331-6963/208-345-1897 (fax)
E-mail: bfoster@healthwise. org
Web site: www. informationtherapy. org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Healthwise Unveils Information Therapy:
Health care providers will write information prescriptions as a supplement to clinic visits, tests, and treatments.
Washington, D. C., and Boise, Idaho, January 23, 2002ÂHealthwise, Incorporated, a long-standing nonprofit leader in producing medical information for consumers, has launched a Âprescription informationÂ concept called information therapy. Healthwise unveiled today the new Washington, D. C.-based Center for Information Therapy (CIT) and an 11-member commission to support information therapy programs among doctors, hospitals, and health plans.
Information is powerful medicine. When prescribed as an integrated part of health care, it can be as important to a patientÂs health as any test, surgery, or medicine. Unlike free-floating health content on the Internet, information prescriptionsÂcalled Âinformation therapyÂÂare delivered electronically to people right before or after a doctor visit, test, or surgery; when they receive medicine; or at any other specific Âmoment of care.Â
The new endeavor marks a shift in health care delivery where information is prescribed to patients, just as medicine is prescribed; and where doctors may even be reimbursed for such prescriptions. Commissioners believe that integrating information prescriptions into health care is key to helping consumers and doctors better communicate in todayÂs time-limited environment. The results will be better care, fewer medical mistakes, and lower health care costs.
ÂTodayÂs consumers are ready to play a bigger role in their health care decisions,Â said
Donald W. Kemper, MPH, chairman and CEO of Healthwise and founding chair of the CIT. ÂInformation therapy finally gives doctors, health plans, and hospitals a way to provide patients with the information they need to be informed, active members of the health care team.Â
CIT Commissioner John Rother, who is director of policy and strategy for AARP, said, ÂIn today's complex health care environment, information therapy can be a powerful key for consumers to feel more in control of their health. Information therapy can also play a positive role in bringing together all parties involved in health care to produce more effective results.Â
An Ix Story
Kemper believes that consumer involvement in care has been inhibited because most doctors still use Âmouth-to-earÂ technology to communicate with patients. Verbal communication may be convenient, but so much of the information is lost that patients rarely gain enough knowledge and confidence to fully engage in medical choices. Ix programs change that. (Ix is medical shorthand for information therapy, similar to Rx, Dx, and Tx.)
HereÂs a fictional example: Jessica tumbles on the ski slope, hurts her knee, and winds up in the emergency room. Following x-rays and a brace, she is sent home with verbal information about the injury, blurry written instructions on home treatment, and directions to make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist. Without information therapy, Jessica likely forgets, mishears, or misplaces most of the information the ER doctor relayed to her. With information therapy, JessicaÂs emotional distress wonÂt hamper her ability to follow the doctorÂs recommendations. By the time she arrives home she has
Received a secure electronic Ix prescription that links her to specific, doctor-approved information about Âknee injury overview,Â Âhome treatment for knee injuries,Â and Âhow to prepare for a visit to a specialist about knee injuries.Â
Information therapy prescriptions are generated for Jessica each time she accesses the health care system for her knee injury, helping her to make decisions with the orthopedist about diagnostic tests, like an MRI, and treatment options, like rehabilitation and surgery. Each time she and her doctor need to communicate clearly and make a decision, Jessica receives relevant, in-depth, and decision-focused information to help her be a better partner with her doctor. The result is a more confident patient, more efficient providers, better health care decisions, fewer mistakes, a reduction of unnecessary medical costs, and, ultimately, a better health care experience for all parties.
ÂInformation therapy looks at patients as health care partners, not recipients,Â said NCQA President and CIT Commissioner Margaret E. OÂKane. ÂEngaging patients in their own health care consistently is one of the best ways to improve outcomes.Â
Reimbursable Medical Service
According to Kemper, doctor-patient communication is inadequate because it isnÂt paid for. If payersÂinsurance companies and reimbursement agenciesÂwould agree to pay providers for this vital part of health care, doctor-patient communication would improve significantly.
The Center for Information Therapy makes the case that information therapy qualifies as a reimbursable medical service, because the prescriptions of information therapy are evidence-based, documented, and directed to a diagnosed patient condition. The information sent to patients must be of the highest qualityÂor prescription-strengthÂmeaning that it is based on up-to-date medical evidence and written and illustrated in a consumer-friendly and decision-focused manner.
Physicians, hospitals, and health plans implement information therapy by using innovative technology that links medical keywords and codes (like ICD-9, CPT, and others) to specific information from vast consumer health information databases like the HealthwiseÂ® Knowledgebase. The thousands of topics in the Healthwise Knowledgebase are indexed to the same keywords and codes so that clinicians can use a PDA, scheduling and billing systems, electronic medical records, and other means of sending the relevant prescription to the patient. The Healthwise Knowledgebase is updated quarterly to the most current health information, and it covers thousands of health topics, medications, tests, surgeries, and self-help groups. It contains valuable Decision Points and Actionsets for helping consumers make decisions.
(NOTE TO EDITOR: PLEASE CONTACT bfoster@healthwise. org TO SEE AN EXAMPLE OF AN INFORMATION THERAPY PRESCRIPTION AND TO LEARN ABOUT PILOT PROJECTS UNDERWAY.)
The priorities and policy positions of the Center for Information Therapy will be directed by an independent Information Therapy Commission composed of health care and consumer leaders from across the health care industry. Founding commissioners include:
Â· Susan Edgman-Levitan: Formerly President of The Picker Institute
Â· James L. Field: Executive Director of The Advisory Board Company
Â· Donald W. Kemper, MPH: Chairman and CEO of Healthwise; Chairman of Hi-Ethics; Founding Chairman of the Center for Information Therapy
Â· Albert G. Mulley, Jr., MD, MPP: Chief of the General Medicine Division and Director of the Medical Practices Evaluation Center, Massachusetts General Hospital; Scientific Director of the Foundation for Informed Decision Making
Â· Annette OÂConnor, PhD: Acting Program Director of Clinical Epidemiology, Ottawa Health Research Institute
Â· Margaret E. OÂKane: President of the National Committee for Quality Assurance
Â· Peter J. Plantes, MD: Vice President of Consumer, Patient, and Physician Services, VHA, Incorporated
Â· John Rother: Director of Legislation and Public Policy, AARP
Â· John W. Rowe, MD: Chairman, President, and CEO of Aetna
Â· Edward Wagner, MD: Director of the MacColl Institute for Healthcare Innovation, Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative
Â· Paul Wallace, MD: Executive Director of the Care Management Institute, Kaiser Permanente
ÂBy matching their data on individualsÂ health care to the growing body of evidence-based clinical information, health plans can add value to their members,Â said Dr. John W. Rowe, chairman, president, and CEO of Aetna. ÂDevelopment of such personalized files will foster more informed decision making on the part of patients.Â
The Center for Information Therapy will support information therapy programs, conduct research about how information therapy affects health care quality and utilization, and encourage payers and policy makers to reimburse providers for information therapy. In addition, the CIT will promote outreach programs for underserved areas.
Physicians, hospitals, health plans, consumers, and policy leaders can learn more about information therapy by:
Â· Visiting www. informationtherapy. org
Â· Attending the national Information Therapy Innovators Conference in Park City, Utah,
September 25-27, 2002, http://www. informationtherapy. org/rs_innovators. html (http://www. informationtherapy. org/rs_innovators. html)
Â· Ordering the new book by Donald W. Kemper and Molly Mettler, Information Therapy: Prescribed Information as a Reimbursable Medical Service, http://www. informationtherapy. org/r_book. html (http://www. informationtherapy. org/r_book. html)
The Center for Information Therapy is a wholly owned, nonprofit subsidiary of Healthwise, Incorporated. Additional funding comes from The Advisory Board Company. Contact Healthwise at 1-800-706-9646, www. informationtherapy. org, or www. healthwise. org.