Healthy Collaboration: A Tale of two (information) products

Healthwise has the mission of “helping people make better health decisions.” Today’s consumers of medical information need to find exactly the piece of information they want rapidly, in their preferred language, without wading through extraneous information. And medical information providers want to get targeted medical information into the hands of their patients or members. To achieve all of these goals, Healthwise made the decision to transform all of their consumer medical information content into DITA. But they also needed to convert the technical documentation for their products. Could all of the medical and technical content happily co-exist in the same component content management system (CCMS)? Could medical writers and tech writers find and use content without stepping on each other’s topics? Find out how a consumer medical information company made the leap into DITA for both its consumer health information and its technical documentation all at once.

What can the audience expect to learn?

Attendees learn

  • How Healthwise is using and adapting DITA for its consumer medical information.
  • The challenges that Healthwise faced and overcame on its path to DITA.
  • The collaboration created among the Content Development, Technical Communications, and Engineering teams to make the transition happen.
  • Future activities planned to transition all content to DITA over the next year.
  • Future enhancements projected for document delivery.

Meet the presenter

Deb Bissantz

DebraBissantzDeb Bissantz is the solitary writer for the Technical Communications group at Healthwise. Deb’s technical writing experience includes online help development and product guides. Her experience includes more than 10 years authoring with DITA. Her previous responsibilities include CMS administration, structured template maintenance, WebWorks ePublisher stationery maintenance, and training. During the past year, Deb worked closely with the Healthwise medical content team and engineering team to implement a new CCMS at Healthwise.

Deb is a past member of the DITA Technical Committee and the DITA Adoption Committee. She co-authored the DITA 1.2 Feature Article: Roles and Responsibilities with Jacquie Samuels.


Maria G. Essig (co-author of the presentation)

MariaEssigMaria G. Essig, MS, ELS, has been involved in structured authoring for more than 15 years. She has led content development teams through a transition from unstructured to structured authoring. In addition, Maria has extensive experience acting as a liaison between content developers and software engineers involved in the creation of tools and features for content developers and in product publication.

Currently, Maria is the DITA subject matter expert (SME) as Healthwise embraces structured content and transitions to producing its consumer health information in DITA. As the DITA SME and technical leader for content developers, she regularly provides formal presentations and conducts technical trainings for Healthwise staff.

Maria is unable to attend.

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