Structured Content and Content Strategy: Beyond the Migration

Christopher Hess, Senior Content Strategist

Editor’s note: In this blog series, we’ll explore ways that structured content adds value to healthcare organizations who need new ways to create, manage, and distribute large amounts of content. In this post, we’ll look at how content moves from unstructured to structured content.

Liberate the content.

That’s been the mission and the guiding light of the Healthwise Content Strategy team for the past few years. The massive migration of content out of long-form articles, out of libraries of printable documents, and out of encyclopedic compilations of duplicative information and into a componentized structured content library has been long and hard, complex and rewarding.

And now, here we are. Migrated.

Our structured content library, the heart of our Content as a Service (CaaS) offering, has grown from zero to thousands and thousands of topics—the reusable chunks of information—in two years. And we’re growing and improving that library every day.

We’ve used structured content to create a new generation of interactive decision aids (that just won a ClearMark Award of Distinction from the Center for Plain Language!) that help a person with a difficult decision and deliver that data to their health professional to improve both communication and quality of care.

We’re now delivering our entire set of Patient Instructions (PIs) from structured content, out of our new content management system. This means that all the pieces that now make up PIs—that formerly were only available as part of individual PI articles—are available as stand-alone topics for new products like CaaS.

We are also getting closer to being able to say the same thing about the information we migrated out of our Healthwise Knowledgebase. This, in many ways, has been the ultimate goal: to “mine” our flagship product, the over 10,000 articles and topics that make up our comprehensive health library, and serve it up through the same component system and content model from which we deliver structured content.

THAT is liberating the content through true innovation.

This work has happened through long and close collaboration between the content, engineering, and metadata teams. Taxonomies and content have been developed in tandem, and management and manufacturing systems have been retuned or rebuilt to process and deliver an entirely new paradigm of content usability.

As with any big move, once all the boxes and furniture and all that other stuff you never even knew you had has been relocated, your attention turns to cleaning up, organizing, and getting the new place all comfy and functional. So we turn to refining and optimizing the content, fine-tuning the taxonomy, and shaping the library as a whole.

But there’s a lot more than that going on.

Smart people across Healthwise are exploring ways we can improve our solutions and build value for clients on this new structured content foundation. We are connecting more precise metadata to more focused, targeted content to build programs and campaigns that are scalable, personalized, and up-to-date. Structured content will fuel chatbot interactions, provide the substance behind voice services, integrate with web pages, enhance conversational user interfaces—and still serve as the foundation behind articles prescribed to a consumer with a condition like diabetes. The decades of experience and clinical expertise behind our Knowledgebase and other information products is now free to travel through a multitude of channels to get to the people who want and need it, in more ways than ever.

We’re also testing many of the hypotheses behind structured content. For example, under Healthwise’s business model of licensed content, we needed this new content model to enable good SEO for our clients. So far, we are very encouraged, in that the basics of our approach—quality content in plain language whose substance fulfills the promise of the title will lead to good SEO—looks like the right one.

Healthwise is innovating new solutions without breaking the old ones. We’re refactoring our entire body of content while still delivering every product we have. And we’ve introduced a new content corpus precisely described by a new Healthwise Consumer Vocabulary. All of it—every piece—is pointed toward the true goal embodied in the Healthwise mission: Helping people make better health decisions.

This is only the beginning. Content strategy at Healthwise is an exciting place to be. We can’t wait to show you what we can do next.

Want to know more about what structured content can do for your organization? Check out The Healthcare Marketer’s Guide to Structured Content.