How the Right Health Education Solution Can Address 3 Big Healthcare Challenges

Amanda Heidemann, MD, FAAFP; Chief Medical Information Officer, CMIO Services, LLC

Author’s note: The views and opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of current or former employers.

It’s no secret that healthcare organizations are facing challenges. As a clinical leader in technology-forward companies, I’ve experienced many of them firsthand. Three of the biggest challenges my peers and I face are resource limitations, a workforce in crisis, and the consumerization of healthcare. There are many ideas about how to tackle these problems, but it’s critical for leaders to ensure that the technologies we select for implementation help alleviate these pressures instead of adding to them—especially for a patient education solution. In my past role as chief medical information officer at a fast-growing Epic telehealth startup, selecting the right partners was important. But as a clinician, I wanted the highest-quality materials for our patients. The best answer was to choose Healthwise Advise®. Here’s how it helped.

Two healthcare professionals in conversation


Challenge 1: Resource limitations

Most healthcare organizations are experiencing resource constraints across all areas, from the bedside to the IT team. We're still coming out of a pandemic, and we're still dealing with challenges like surging viral illnesses, revenue struggles, and a wealth of digital health initiatives. As a result, many priorities have shifted. When I was researching health education solutions, it was really important to find one with a lean implementation profile that wouldn't require a lot of attention from our IT staff. We wanted something that could be implemented cleanly, and it needed to perform without extra effort from us down the road.

When I heard about Healthwise Advise, I was immediately intrigued because it’s a FHIR solution, which means better interoperability and less maintenance than legacy solutions. I liked the idea that it would help avoid scheduling quarterly content uploads, since we were in the middle of rapidly implementing Epic and preparing to support patient care on a very tight timeline. Advise is a “set it and forget it” solution, which let the team move ahead with their priorities and not worry about managing legacy content over time.

Challenge 2: Workforce in crisis

As leaders, we also know that clinicians are under a lot of pressure, and with every new technology there’s a risk of contributing to clinician burnout. I wanted to make sure that the new education solution would fit into the native Epic® workflow. Clinicians have become skeptical about new workflows; they want to understand the proposed benefits and any potential risks. To successfully adopt new technology, they need to know how it will help them and how it will impact patient care.

As a practicing telehealth clinician, one of the key factors I was looking for in a new health education solution was clinician experience. Other systems I've used either sent me to find education resources elsewhere, or just presented generic lists of education. I wanted something that would embed in the physician workflow, which Advise does nicely. Once a clinician clicks on the patient education button, choices immediately pop up based on the visit diagnoses and patient demographics.

I also liked the idea that Healthwise Advise is a learning system. Since it’s cloud-based, Advise can gather and use data about clinicians’ interactions with the education. It identifies the education used most often and places it where it's more easily seen or suggests it more preferentially. Most legacy systems can’t do that. Clinicians can also develop “favorites” by flagging the education they use frequently.

senior man using mobile phone


Challenge 3: Consumerization of healthcare

The last challenge that healthcare organizations need to consider is the shift to a consumer focus. We need to meet our patients where they're at—not only from a linguistic and reading level perspective but also from a technology perspective. Patients like visually appealing content. They like things to be available right at their fingertips, particularly within MyChart in Epic. Advise lets them find and consume education while they're in MyChart doing all the other things they do there.

It also lets us meet patients where they are with greater language availability. All Advise patient education is available in the seven most used languages, and the most common education pieces are also available in the top 20 languages. Using FHIR, the system can see the patient's preferred language in Epic and give clinicians preferential handout suggestions in that language.

Additionally, as a family physician, it was important to accommodate the needs of an aging population with things like the ability to change text font size and offer closed-captioning or transcripts with videos. Health literacy is a major challenge, and it was important to me to ensure patients could absorb what I was trying to share.

From the patient experience perspective, understanding how patients interact with the solution was also a huge draw for me. It’s so important to have metrics around what education patients use and what education they don’t use.


If you get a group of CMIOs in a room, we're always talking about the solutions we're implementing and what those experiences were like. We’re also talking about which projects are on our happy list or our sad list. Healthwise is one of the best partners I've worked with—this is not a paid testimonial, they really are that good and they truly care about their clients’ success.

The story behind our particular implementation is a bit humorous. Initially, Healthwise didn't recommend Advise since I was not the typical client. Most clients aren’t eager to implement a brand-new patient education solution on top of a compressed EHR implementation timeline. Healthwise was very sensitive to the fact that we were trying to do a lot of things at once and said, “Hey, do you want to consider doing the other solution? Are you really up for this?” They were considerate about not wanting to add another element of variability into the overall implementation.

However, I like to be on the cutting edge of patient care technology, so we decided to formally partner with Healthwise. We knew we’d have challenges because the FHIR standard was new and because we were a brand-new client. But even when we hit little bumps along the way, the Healthwise team was right there figuring it out, and I had complete confidence in their ability to make us successful. Healthwise worked very well with our team and worked very well with Epic. Once Advise was live, it was fantastic to see the data about how clinicians and patients were engaging with the education. As a clinical informaticist it made me smile, but as a family physician it made my heart happy.

To learn how Healthwise Advise can help with some of the challenges your healthcare organization faces, visit the Healthwise website.