BOISE, ID and BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - Feb 20, 2014) - Amidst the challenges of health care reform, two exceptional nonprofits are bringing together their complementary strengths to provide what's missing in health care: a strong voice for the patient -- the greatest untapped resource in health care.

Today, Healthwise, the nonprofit with the world's greatest reach in engaging patients, and the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation, the nonprofit with the world's greatest depth of knowledge about shared medical decision making, announced their pending merger. The resulting nonprofit will help more than 160 million people each year to make better health decisions.

"This is a merger that patients will celebrate," said Don Kemper. "The world needs an unbiased, up-to-date source of truth about medical treatments and healthy behaviors. This combination delivers that like never before." Kemper remains as the CEO of the combined organization, still to be known as Healthwise. "Together we can inform and amplify the patient's voice for the greater benefit of a more affordable health care system," Kemper added.

Healthwise benefits from the Foundation's exceptionally strong expertise in and reputation for bringing unbiased and authenticated medical science to the individual. Through the Foundation's work and demonstrations with health systems around the country, they have shown that shared decision making doesn't just improve decision quality -- informed patients choose nonsurgical treatments more often than those who are left in the dark about surgical risks versus benefits.

Through Healthwise patient engagement and care management solutions, the Foundation gains the ability to reach hundreds of millions of people with the information they need to make informed decisions.

Michael Barry, who retains his title as president of the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation and adds the title of chief science officer, said, "By joining forces we will bring unprecedented, combined strengths to ensure that people around the world are informed and involved in their health care decisions." Barry added, "We could not be more thrilled about this union. Together our passion, expertise and dedication will be a force for good in the health care landscape."

The new Healthwise will be governed by a board of directors with instant credibility across health care and beyond. The 13-member board will be chaired by Peggy O'Kane, long-time CEO for the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and will include exemplary leaders in medical research, information technology, public service, physician education, social media marketing and health policy, as well as consumers who are passionate about the patient's role in health care. The full board will be announced at closing.

The Foundation's work in shared decision making research and policy will continue under the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation's name while a new generation of decision-support products and services to be created with the expertise of both organizations will become a leading part of Healthwise solutions for patient engagement and care management.

In the spirit of the Mayflower Compact, the two organizations signed a Compact that clearly sets the direction of the combined organization to: inform and amplify each person's voice, help people improve the care they provide for themselves and their families, help people set and reach health behavior goals and advocate for public policy that supports these goals.

"I loved the Compact and got a little misty-eyed when I read the last line: 'We are a force for good,' said one of the Foundation's medical editors. "Such an awesome sentiment in these crazy times for medicine."

Jim Giuffre, president and chief operating officer of Healthwise, said, "This will benefit providers and payers alike. Healthwise will continue to offer our exceptional patient engagement and care management solutions. And by joining with the Foundation, we are strengthening our evidence, research, evaluation and service offerings."

Kemper and Barry expect the merger to close by the end of March. "Working together, we can help more people make better health decisions than ever before," said Kemper. "What we set out to do today will impact health and health care for generations to come."

About Healthwise
Healthwise is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help people make better health decisions. People have turned to Healthwise information more than a billion times to learn how to do more for themselves, ask for the care they need, and say "no" to the care they don't need. Healthwise partners with hospitals, electronic medical record (EMR) providers, health plans, disease management companies, and health websites to provide up-to-date, evidence-based information to the people they serve., 1.800.706.9646.

About the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation
The Informed Medical Decisions Foundation has been working for over two decades to advance evidence-based shared decision making through research, policy, clinical models and patient decision aids. We believe that the only way to ensure high quality medical decisions are made is for a fully informed patient to participate in a shared decision making conversation with his or her health care provider. We are a Boston-based organization with a network of medical editors and clinical advisors from some of the most prestigious medical institutions in the world.

© 2014 Healthwise, Incorporated.
Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise.

Contact Information:

Christian Lybrook
Director of Corporate Communications
208-331-6963 (o)
208-433-0707 (m)

Steph Synoracki
Communications Specialist
Informed Medical Decisions Foundation
617-573-4649 (o)