Customer Case Study
Contra Costa County, CA)
Population: 1,049,025 (2010)
Use Case: Quality improvement
As the Prehospital Care Coordinator at Contra Costa County Emergency Medical Services, Chad Henry interacts with EMS-related data daily. His main responsibilities include sourcing, analyzing, and communicating data with the goal of driving quality improvement. “Data is the single most important tool we have that drives our local EMS system,” Henry said. CCC EMS’s mission relies on measuring quality. As part of this mission, they have constructed specific goals, resulting in the creation of individualized quality programs.
By enabling clear communication of essential data on emergency response times, LiveStories greatly enhanced CCC EMS’s mission of driving quality improvement. Their first story, published in November 2017, was the Ambulance Patient Offload Time (APOT) Report. With two other stories in development, and three more planned, CCC EMS is excited to continue to use LiveStories to improve their ability to help the people of Contra Costa County in critical times.
Helping the Public Understand EMS Data
Prior to using LiveStories, CCC EMS struggled to communicate data in an easy-to-understand fashion. “It has always been easy to disseminate data and data analysis,” Henry said, “but the biggest challenge was doing so in a meaningful fashion that allowed a wide audience to consume and understand it.” Because the data they presented was not digestible to all audiences, it lost its power. “Data is only as useful as its understanding at the audience level.”
The main problem for Henry and his team was the complexity of the data—and the lack of a storytelling tool to help the public make sense of it. The data they published “wasn’t applicable to people outside the EMS world,” Henry said. Moreover, the data publishing platforms CCC EMS used were static, enabling them to publish basic data to their website and not much else.
CCC EMS’s difficulty in communicating data changed once they began using LiveStories. “The platform itself did a lot of the storytelling for us,” Henry said. “It was the foundation to build the story.” Henry recalled that one of the features that made LiveStories stand out was its ease of creating, modifying, and updating stories.
In addition to making sure the stories provide value to hospital executives, Henry wanted stories that were clear and simple. “It was important the story could be consumed by a layperson in the public rather than someone in the hospitals. The text and the content and the visualizations makes it easy for the public as a whole to understand.”
Tailoring data for specific audiences
In certain cases, CCC EMS wanted to disseminate specific data to specific audiences. This was made difficult because the data they collected came from a variety of disparate data systems.
Using LiveStories’ team features, CCC EMS changed their workflow significantly using LiveStories collaboration features so that they could assimilate multiple datasets faster and tailor the data to certain audiences, such as hospital executives. “The amount of time required to assimilate data for publishing has been significantly decreased,” Henry said. “It has also stimulated interest outside of our normal data storytelling.”
EMS Director Pat Frost described the user-friendliness of LiveStories: “This experience highlights our desire to make the data work for people rather than people working for the data.”
Offering real-time data was a particular interest for hospitals. “When we talked to hospitals they said they appreciate the analysis but it would be helpful to know about where we are in real-time for the previous seven days,” Henry said. His team implemented this feedback and included real-time data visualizations in the APOT Story on performance for the past week. “The value added with the APOT story is that the public can now visualize a patient encounter when transported by ambulance to a hospital,” Frost said.
Adding Interactivity to Data Visualizations
Before using LiveStories, Henry’s team could only present data in the form of basic charts and graphs. “User interest was short-lived, in part due to a lack of interactiveness,” Henry said.
LiveStories stood out for its ability to make interactive visualizations that change as readers hover and click on charts and maps. “We haven’t seen anything like this in terms of visualization,” Henry said.
Using LiveStories’ interactive visualizations, CCC EMS was excited to give readers of the data report a voice in the story. Henry found that a dynamic platform with interactive visualizations often inspired new questions among readers—and allows them to explore and come up with answers themselves. As a result, the question and answer process is shortened and individualized.
With the help of LiveStories, CCC EMS was able to redefine how they created and told stories, fulfilling their overarching mission of driving quality improvement. Henry recalls the decision to choose LiveStories was clear. “After a demo with us, it was merely a matter of having the vendor vetted and approved by IT. LiveStories offers exactly what we need and have been looking for to help share complex data in a meaningful way.”
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Contra Costa EMS is just one of many customers who use LiveStories to engage internal audiences, local partners, and the public.