Improving wellbeing and public health is a tremendous challenge for any community. Identifying health problems, prioritizing them, and testing and implementing solutions are complicated and difficult tasks. Effectively communicating health problems and solutions to the public and stakeholders is just as important as identifying the problems and solutions themselves. Reducing local diabetes rates, for example, is often impossible without improving a community’s access to healthy foods and exercise opportunities.
And because all communities are different, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for this process. Each community’s health story is different.
100 Million Lives and the SCALE Initiative
100 Million Healthier Lives is a network of communities throughout the world, from Alaska to New York, to Kenya and India. Together, these communities include over 307 million people, and participants in the organization are working to make its name—“100 million healthier lives”—a reality by 2020. Convened by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), 100MLive’s driving value is that public health can be improved most effectively from the ground up, within local communities, by people working together across silos that are needed to create wellbeing.
With direction from Executive Lead Dr. Soma Stout, 100MHL began using LiveStories in December 2016 as part of its flagship initiative: SCALE—which stands for Spreading Community Accelerators through Learning and Evaluation. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, SCALE is expanding to include over 220 communities and 500 healthcare organizations.
Dr. Stout cited a number of factors that drew her and the SCALE initiative to the LiveStories platform. The ability to visualize and communicate data was a big part of it—but not the whole story. “It's funny, because you guys often lead with the data,” Dr. Stout said in an interview. “But I think the ability to tell stories—data-informed stories—is what we were looking for. There are lots of tools to show data, but [storytelling] is what feels very unique in this.”
Dr. Stout sees storytelling as the heart of community transformation. “The thing that catalyzes it is the power of giving and receiving stories,” she said. “That is necessary to be able to truly transform people's hearts and minds and bring people together.”
Health and Wellbeing Stories Spanning 100 Million People
Dozens of SCALE communities have already created innovative stories about their communities on the LiveStories platform. For example, a team in Summit County, Ohio, published a series of stories exploring the data on infant mortality and related issues. In Waterville, Maine, a SCALE team created a story about community connections, and how the social structure of the town relates to such problems as food availability and overall happiness.
Two different 100MHL communities, separated by 2,300 miles, created stories about promoting community health through better food choices—one from the remote Alaskan town of Sitka, and another from the Illinois township of Proviso, just west of Chicago.
“The intuitiveness of the platform for building out stories and video has been phenomenal,” Dr. Stout said. “LiveStories created a tool that made it easy for people to develop the core skills that are needed to create community transformation.”
To facilitate this transformation, Dr. Stout coordinated SCALE teams’ use of LiveStories through storytelling workshops and innovative “story swaps.” On these virtual storytelling workshops, SCALE teams around the country share stories they’re working on via videocalls. Teams solicited feedback and drew inspiration from one another.
“We have a pretty strong history of peer exchange,” Dr. Stout said. “Multiple communities are in peer teams. So they exchanged across those peer teams with these story swaps, edited one another’s, and used that as a process for learning and growing and developing their own stories.”
A Growing Library of Health Solutions
The results of the SCALE communities’ work are far-reaching. From Alaska to New York, SCALE dozens of teams have published detailed reports of local health problems, explained how they’ve tested and implemented solutions to those problems, and shared the results with their communities.
Building on its successes, SCALE is now expanding from 24 to over 220 communities. As learning and evaluation are central to the SCALE initiative—the “L” and “E” of the word—“SCALE 2.0” will evolve, focusing on changing community-wide practices as well as working with “anchor” institutions, such as health organizations, within communities.
However the SCALE initiative’s story unfolds, communities will continue using the LiveStories platform to tell it. “Leading from within, leading together, leading for outcomes, leading for equity, and leading for sustainability,” Dr. Stout said, “LiveStories helps people tell stories that really integrate across those elements.”
Learn how you can benefit from LiveStories.
100 Million Healthier Lives is just one of many customers who use LiveStories to engage internal audiences, local partners, and the public.