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Health Dialog Decision Aids Receive Certification from the Washington State Health Care Authority

Spinal stenosis and serious illness tools help patients avoid unnecessary surgery and make preference-sensitive decisions

BOSTON, Mass.—September 11, 2018—Health Dialog, a leading provider of integrated population health management solutions for health plans, risk-bearing providers and self-insured employers, announced today that the Washington State Health Care Authority has certified its spinal stenosis and serious illness decision aids. These aids are part of Health Dialog’s library of decision aids—one of the most comprehensive in the world—which have collectively earned the company more than 100 industry awards for content, ease-of-use and design.

Decision aids are tools that facilitate shared decision making (SDM), a collaborative process between physicians and patients designed to improve quality of care and reduce costs. Decision aids offer evidence-based information about treatment choices to help patients understand their options, consider personal values and lifestyle, and prepare them to speak with their provider to make a treatment decision. Nearly two decades of data show SDM helps patients choose less invasive care, achieve better health outcomes and be happier with both their care and their provider by engaging them in their treatment choice. Many of the nation’s leading medical organizations support the use of SDM, including the National Quality Forum, Institute of Medicine (now National Academy of Medicine), U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and American Medical Association.  

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of spaces in the spine, which puts pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerves. Health Dialog’s decision aid, “Spinal Stenosis: Choosing the Right Treatment for You,” compares surgical and non-surgical treatment options to help patients decide, together with their healthcare providers, on the best treatment choice to manage pain, limited function and other symptoms.

The Health Care Authority also certified Health Dialog’s “Medical Care for Serious Illness” decision aid, intended for people with a serious illness that is or may become life threatening. The decision aid stresses the importance of advance care planning to avoid treatments that patients may not want, particularly in situations when they can no longer make medical decisions independently for themselves. It also addresses palliative care, potentially life-sustaining care and hospice. Using the aid, patients and their loved ones can make sensitive, individualized choices when faced with a life-threatening diagnosis.

“The State of Washington’s certification process has fostered the widespread use of shared decision making and provides a process to identify quality decision aids,” said Peter Goldbach, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for Health Dialog. “We are proud to have our spinal stenosis and serious illness aids join the Health Dialog decision aids previously certified by the State. As these shared decision-making resources become more common in the healthcare system, empowered patients are able to make healthcare choices that are more informed and better aligned with their values, lifestyle and preferences.”

The Health Care Authority’s chief medical officer certifies decision aids in consultation with a review panel and input from subject matter experts. More information about the State of Washington’s program, including the listing of certified decision aids, is available at:

About Health Dialog:
Health Dialog is a leading provider of population health management solutions. The company works with the nation’s largest third-party payers, employers and providers to improve the health and wellness of their members, employees and patients while reducing costs and improving performance in key quality measures, such as CMS’ Stars ratings. Health Dialog’s unique capabilities include analytics, a patient portal, a multi-channel coaching platform, shared decision-making tools and a 24/7 nurse line. For more information, visit Health Dialog is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD).