Adam Husney, MD, Healthwise CEO

Person using a remote to watch tv


Remember TV back when it was just TV? No DVR, no streaming—and waiting to watch “Seinfeld” until Thursday at 8:00 pm because that’s when it was on? Compared to today, it was pretty much the TV dark ages. Now you can queue up just about any show on your chosen streaming service, watch whatever episode you want, and you don’t even need a TV to do it.

Well, it’s time to move out of the health education dark ages too. It’s time to #FreeTheContent. We’re introducing the #FreeTheContent hashtag to share how versatile and accessible health education content can be. Maybe it’ll even go viral! (But not in a cough cough, superspreader kind of way.) So, what does #FreeTheContent mean?

Meeting Consumer Needs

One thing #FreeTheContent means is freeing education from its traditional constraints. In other words, sharing health education in ways that better meet consumer needs—and, as a health organization, being able to use education content wherever you want to.

Much like only being able to watch your favorite sitcom on Thursday nights, getting ahold of health education used to have some major barriers. Maybe the education was only available as paper printouts, or consumers could only get to it after a cumbersome login process. That’s not the case today.

Now, a clinician or caseworker doesn’t have to physically hand a consumer the content, nor does a programmer have to manually add a link or code to a website. Instead, education can appear in a clinician’s workflow, and it can be easily shared to patient portals that are accessible by smartphone. And it’s easy to provide health education online or in marketing materials by using structured content like Healthwise Compass. You can host health education libraries on your website for consumers to search and browse. And health education experiences can be personalized to consumers with intelligent recommendations based on consumer behavior and demographics—think of that handy “suggested for you” list on Netflix.

All that to say, trusted health education is more easily available than ever before. That’s a good thing because, with the rise in consumerism and conveniences like streaming, people expect to get information (or entertainment) whenever they want it, wherever they may be.

Mother and daughter looking at a tablet


Removing Barriers

Freeing the content isn’t just about how health education is delivered to consumers. #FreeTheContent also means freeing knowledge from a particular format or language. Have you ever looked at all the language options for subtitles on your favorite streaming service? Or the audio description for visually impaired viewers that verbally describes what’s happening on the screen? If entertainment can meet the needs of diverse viewers, we should be able to do the same with health education. After all, health education is only as good as the consumer’s ability to understand it.

Here are a few ways to #FreeTheContent for diverse audiences, remove barriers to understanding, increase health literacy, and ultimately improve outcomes.

Provide your consumers with health education content that:

  • Is translated into multiple languages so more people can understand it.
  • Is written in plain language and is free from jargon and unnecessary technical terms.
  • Meets the lowest possible reading level. (The average Medicare beneficiary reads at a fifth-grade reading level.)
  • Is available in multimedia formats like short videos, 3D animations, and images.

These user-friendly considerations #FreeTheContent by offering consumers greater flexibility, and making education more effective by removing barriers to understanding. Much like streaming does.

Personalizing Education to Your Organization

And #FreeTheContent doesn’t just benefit consumers. By using innovations like structured content, organizations can personalize what they offer without doing all the heavy lifting of education creation. Just like streaming services that offer content created in-house alongside content produced by other companies, your organization can use a blended content strategy. This saves you time and money because you have a huge health education library on hand, while your organization can add specialized content as needed.

How is Healthwise working to #FreeTheContent? In the last year, we’ve developed purpose-driven education solutions. With Healthwise Advise, our education is tagged with use cases and purposes. With our new Healthwise Compass solution, our education is flexible and programmable, which allows providers, payers, and digital health companies to use it purposefully wherever they need it.

This year, let’s #FreeTheContent—after all, it’s what consumers are used to, and it’s what they want. Not to mention, it means better-educated people who can make better health decisions for themselves.