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StayWell Evidence-Based Digital Health Content Development Policy

Our commitment

StayWell’s commitment is to provide clients and their end users with accurate, timely, and understandable digital health content. We focus on diseases, conditions, tests, and procedures. Our goal is to promote understanding and management of health conditions and wellness. StayWell is dedicated to developing health communication solutions that are evidence-based, easy to understand and behavioral-change focused.

Health content is developed using clinicians whose expertise falls in the content area under development. We aim to develop content consistent with evidence-based medicine and nationally accepted guidelines and standards of practice. StayWell research methods, include, but are not limited to, reviewing journal articles, practice guidelines, and subscription databases; consulting with medical experts; and attending health care association meetings and conferences with both practitioners and end-users of our products.

Health content

StayWell defines health content as content that focuses on diseases, conditions, tests, treatments, and procedures. This type of content is URAC-accredited and cannot be edited by the website receiving the licensed health content. Health content has two medical reviews. Health content will enter the medical review process every 24 months. Health content enters its “first” medical review two (2) months prior to the expiration of the last review date and the medical review process - two medical reviews, one editorial review, a QA process (a clinician reviews), and translation - may take up to six months to complete. Dates of medical reviews are tracked and stored in StayWell Content Management System (CMS). Certain diseases and conditions that have ongoing medical research and frequent updates to treatment guidelines are medically reviewed more often to remain current with standards of care. 

Please note: Content can be hosted by StayWell servers, hosted on the client’s servers, or delivered via Web services or manual syndication. Revision of licensed health content is permitted with a specific administrative tool obtained by clients to meet their needs, but if revision to licensed health content occurs, the content will not be considered URAC-accredited.

One medical review by a medical or clinical expert will occur in the specialty area(s) - of nutrition, wellness, and health promotion - and with specialized content that focuses on nonclinical or less clinically specific information about a specific disease, condition, test, medical treatment, or procedure. The Digital Content Team sets the medical review schedule, based on the health topics or conditions under review. Our Quality Oversight Committee receives a quarterly report on the medical review process of digital health content, as well as clinical updates made to accommodate new medical practices and knowledge.

Self-management or interactive tools, such as calculators, condition-related risk assessments, and quizzes relating to specific health topics - smoking, weight loss, exercise, immunizations and screenings, pregnancy, stress, depression, and substance and alcohol use - are considered health content. This is also true of our multimedia content and animations. StayWell animations and interactive tools are medically accurate in content, visual representations, and data interaction. Standards and requirements that direct the creation of health content also guide the development process in multimedia content and self-management tools.

Throughout the process of the creation of multimedia content and self-management/interactive tools, there are several different script/content reviews by the Digital Content Team. During production, the Digital Content Team reviews many visual beta versions of any product developed by the graphic artists, animators, and programmers. During each step of the process, the Digital Content Team has multiple opportunities to ensure medical accuracy of the final product. All interactive multimedia content undergoes user testing by the staff and other consumer users.

Great importance is placed on visuals. Our award-winning art is used to:

  • Bridge learning barriers - Visuals speak across languages and literacy levels;

  • Convey key messages - Images reinforce key content; and

  • Tie content and audience together - Offer real-life examples and solutions.

Digital health content development and medical review process

StayWell health content is developed for a range of reading levels, from 5th to 9th grades, depending on the audience and topic requirements. In general, our target reading level is between 5th and 8th grades. Reading level is measured with commonly used readability scales (Flesch-Kincaid, FK Reading Ease, and Gunning-Fog). Going beyond readability, StayWell also focuses on health literacy. We create content using the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Toolkit and the Plain Language and Training Resources offered by the National Institutes of Health. Multimedia content facilitates a low-literacy reading level with medical illustrations and a diverse selection of multimedia products. 

The medical review process for health content is conducted through a content management system (CMS). The application allows (for) electronic editing, sourcing, and recording (to occur) during electronic medical reviews of digital health content. The CMS serves as a mechanism to track and save revisions, sources, updates, and edits made to digital health content, as well as store dates, authors, medical reviewers, and editors during the medical review process for digital health content. 

The medical review process for digital health content includes, but not limited to, the following steps:

  • Health content is sourced by the author(s) and medical reviewers when developed, updated, or revised. Our writers use only evidence-based information. 

  • Health content, including interactive or self-management tools and multimedia content, has two medical reviews. 

  • Health content will enter the medical review process every 24 months. Health content enters its “first” medical review two (2) months prior to the expiration of the last review date and the medical review process - two medical reviews, one editorial review, QA, and translation - may take up to six months to complete. Dates of medical reviews are tracked and stored in StayWell CMS. Certain diseases and conditions that have ongoing medical research and frequent updates to treatment guidelines are medically reviewed more often to remain current with standards of care.  

  • Content is updated immediately when significant new medical knowledge or change(s) in medical guidelines occur, and when content errors (not spelling or grammar) that could impact the health or well-being of an end-user, are identified.

  • Two medical reviews are performed on health content. At least one of the medical reviewers is an expert or specialist in the area pertaining to the disease, condition or topic under review.

  • Experts or specialists in the area pertaining to the disease, condition, or topic under review usually consist of clinicians, advanced practice registered nurses (APRN), or physician assistants (PA).

  • Editorial reviews occur after the two medical reviews are completed to assess the reading and literacy levels of the health content; to correct misspellings or errors in grammar; and to maintain StayWell writing and style guides for digital content.

  • StayWell content - whether existing and being updated or new - is intelligently indexed and mapped to MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) concepts as a common keyword scheme. MeSH is an industry-standard vocabulary maintained by the National Library of Medicine.

For additional information on our editorial processes, please review StayWell Editorial Policy.

Medical reviewers and health content developers

StayWell employs a highly skilled team of medical authors, editors, and reviewers. Most reviewers are independent contractors and clinicians – e.g. medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, dentists, psychiatrists, dietitians, pharmacists, social workers, physical therapists, advanced practiced registered nurses, or physician assistants – and have numerous years of professional experience. In addition, each medical writer has many years of experience in writing patient education materials for hospitals, health systems, private organizations, and professional organizations.

StayWell medical reviewers - licensed clinically-experienced health care providers - are charged to assure that the content is evidence-based and that recommendations made on a particular topic are consistent across all content on that topic. To ensure accurate and accessible content, StayWell has an in-house team of:

  • Clinicians with advanced degrees

  • Project manager

  • Medical writers

  • Certified medical illustrators

  • Medical editors

For background information on our medical reviewers, authors and editors, please see StayWell Medical Reviewers and Third-Party Vendors and StayWell Clinical Reviewers, Editors or Medical Illustrators.

Practice guidelines we follow

In developing, medically reviewing, and updating digital health content, Staywell monitors a substantial number of associations and organizations that publish healthcare guidelines. All guidelines are vetted, and those directly applicable to StayWell content are taken into consideration and utilized for product development and maintenance.

See below for the list of guidelines currently monitored and distributed to editorial staff and StayWell clinicians.

1. Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine

2. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

3. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices

4. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

5. Alzheimer’s Association

6. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

7. American Academy of Audiology

8. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

9. American Academy of Dermatology

10. American Academy of Emergency Medicine

11. American Academy of Emergency Medicine

12. American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

13. American Academy of Family Physicians

14. American Academy of General Dentistry

15. American Academy of Neurology

16. American Academy of Ophthalmology

17. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

18. American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy

19. American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery

20. American Academy of Pain Medicine

21. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

22. American Academy of Pediatrics

23. American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

24. American Academy of Sleep Medicine

25. American Association for Respiratory Care

26. American Association for Thoracic Surgery

27. American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation

28. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists

29. American Association of Diabetes Educators

30. American Association of Endontists

31. American Association of Neurologic Surgeons

32. American Association of Neuroscience Nurses

33. American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

34. American Association of Orthodontists

35. American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons

36. American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus

37. American Cancer Society

38. American Chronic Pain Association

39. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

40. American College of Cardiology

41. American College of Chest Physicians

42. American College of Clinical Pharmacy

43. American College of Critical Care Medicine

44. American College of Echocardiography

45. American College of Emergency Physicians

46. American College of Endocrinology

47. American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons

48. American College of Gastroenterology

49. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

50. American College of Physicians

51. American College of Preventive Medicine

52. American College of Prosthodontists

53. American College of Radiology

54. American College of Rheumatology

55. American College of Sports Medicine

56. American College of Surgeons

57. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

58. American Dental Association

59. American Diabetes Association

60. American Epilepsy Society

61. American Gastroenterological Association

62. American Geriatric Society

63. American Head and Neck Society

64. American Heart Association

65. American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine

66. American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society

67. American Lung Association

68. American Lung Foundation

69. American Medical Association

70. American Occupational Therapy Association Inc

71. American Optometric Association

72. American Osteopathic Association

73. American Pain Society

74. American Physical Therapy Association

75. American Podiatric Medical Association

76. American Psychiatric Association

77. American Psychological Association

78. American Rhinologic Society

79. American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology

80. American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

81. American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery

82. American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition

83. American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition

84. American Society of Anesthesiologists

85. American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery

86. American Society of Clinical Oncology

87. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons

88. American Society of Echocardiography

89. American Society of Hematology

90. American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians

91. American Society of Nephrology

92. American Society of Neuroradiology

93. American Society of Nuclear Cardiology

94. American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ASPO)

95. American Society of Plastic Surgeons

96. American Society of Reproductive Medicine

97. American Society of Temporomandibular Joint Surgeons (ASTMJS)

98. American Stroke Association

99. American Thoracic Society

100. American Thyroid Association

101. American Urological Association

102. American Venous Forum

103. Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses

104. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

105. Brain Trauma Foundation

106. British Association of Dermatologists

107. British Menopause Society

108. British Society for Rheumatology

109. British Society of Gastroenterology

110. British Thoracic Society

111. Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine

112. Canadian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

113. Canadian Association of Radiologists

114. Canadian Cardiovascular Society

115. Canadian Diabetes Association

116. Canadian Headache Society

117. Canadian Heart Rhythm Society

118. Canadian Interventional Radiology Association

119. Canadian Medical Association

120. Canadian Paediatric Society

121. Canadian Pain Society

122. Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care

123. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

124. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

125. Concussion in Sport Group

126. Department of Defense

127. Department of Health and Human Services

128. Department of Justice

129. Department of Veterans Affairs

130. Emergency Nurses Association

131. Endocrine Society

132. Environmental Protection Agency

133. Eye Surgery Education Council

134. Food and Drug Administration

135. GINA: Global Initiative for Asthma

136. Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease

137. Heart Rhythm Society

138. Infectious Diseases Society of America

139. Institute of Medicine

140. Joint Commission

141. Joint Council of Allergy Asthma and Immunology

142. Multi Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer

143. National Academy of Family Physicians

144. National Association for Sport and Physical Education

145. National Asthma Education and Prevention Program

146. National Cancer institute

147. National Cholesterol Education Program

148. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

149. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)

150. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

151. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

152. National Institute of Mental Health

153. National Institute on Aging

154. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

155. National Institute on Drug Abuse

156. National Institutes of Health

157. National Kidney Foundation

158. National Lipid Association

159. National Osteoporosis Foundation

160. National Stroke Foundation

161. North American Menopause Society

162. North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

163. Obesity Society

164. Oncology Nursing Society

165. Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society

166. Preventive Services Task Force

167. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

168. Royal College of Radiologists

169. Society for Vascular Surgery

170. Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons

171. Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists

172. Society of Critical Care Medicine

173. Society of Interventional Radiology

174. Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada

175. Society of Thoracic Surgeons

176. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

177. US Public Health Service

178. USDA

179. Veterans Health Administration

180. World Health Organization WHO

181. World Heart Federation

182. Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society


Questions about our policies and general inquiries

Please email us at or call 800-203-7902 and select Option #4 for additional information about STAYWELL.

We respond to clients within 24 hours on business days. 


Reviewed and Approved by the Quality Oversight Committee: October 2018

Revised: August 2019

Date Last Reviewed: 10/4/2018
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