Location: Marin County, California
Population: 252,408 (2010 Census)
Saving Time and Resources When Creating and Updating Reports
Before LiveStories, Marin County's Department of Human and Health Services would use a combination of Excel, Powerpoint, and PDFs to publish new information and data to the community. When the department had to update the data, the process could easily take 20 hours per update.
This approach presented challenges with version control. PDF reports floated around the community, leading to confusion around which statistics were the latest ones.
Now, Marin County Department of Health Human Services uses LiveStories for many of their reports. With LiveStories, the department can create reports using our platform's story builder, combining images, charts, maps, videos, and rich text to tell the full story. The story will be published online at the click of a button with a unique link for easy sharing. When new data is available, all Marin County has to do is to upload it, and all charts and maps will automatically reflect the latest data version.
"LiveStories has shown an extreme time and resources benefit to us," said Rochelle Ereman, the Community Epidemiology Program Director at the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services. "Now it takes half an hour [to update a report] versus 20 hours."
Bringing Stakeholders Together Around a Shared Goal to Maximize Impact
Like many communities around the country, Marin County is experiencing the obesity crisis first hand, a health issue that is costly health-wise to individuals and financially to the community. Various organizations, including the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services, nonprofits, community foundations, and policy makers, were making an effort to reduce obesity rates in the community. However, the organizations did not have a shared goal or set of priorities that they could work on together to change the impact.
Rochelle Ereman and her team decided to bring all involved parties together to make a collaborative effort to tackle the obesity problem. The idea was to set and track a common goal that would show if their efforts had an impact so they could strategize and take action together. Rochelle invited everyone into the same room and gave them access to their LiveStories team which contained the latest obesity related data for Marin County. Individually, the parties would explore the data, create visualizations, and pin the charts and maps to a shared dashboard.
"People were looking at the data in a new way," Ereman said. "They were creating the data themselves, and that has never been done before. They were creating these charts going, oh my gosh this is incredible."
The collaborators would look at obesity data by city or by census tract, all while pinning the most interesting charts and maps to the dashboard—each chart counting as a vote. By the end of the session, the group would look at the dashboard and many of the same charts had been pinned by different individuals, indicating consensus around the importance of tracking the specific metric.
"It was a way to bind the community together around shared goals and priorities," Ereman said, "and that was a very interesting and fun process to work on."
LiveStories allows you to have one place where you can make your data easily accessible within and across teams. You can invite external collaborators to explore your data and even collaborate around creating stories and dashboards together.
Communicating Data More Effectively
Marin County Health and Human Services Department communicates data and information to a range of stakeholders, including policy makers, the board of supervisors, the community, the media, other agencies and county programs, and its own staff. The audience varies depending on the issue, but in all cases, LiveStories helps Marin County provide a full picture of not only the data behind the issue but also what the county is doing about an issue.
The story "includes an action plan," Ereman said, "it includes the data, it includes live charts that can be updated with new information at a moment's notice."
In the case of prescription drug misuse, Marin County Health and Human Services Department heard anecdotes about drugs that children were taking. They started to look into data surrounding the issue in order to assess how big a problem they had on hand. The work and findings were being communicated across multiple fronts—to physicians and hospitals to impact prescribing practices; to community members, parents, and families to impact disposal and storage of prescription drugs; and to the board of supervisors to inform them that the issue needed attention and resources.
Learn How You Can Benefit From LiveStories
Marin County Department of Health and Human Services is just one of many partners who use LiveStories to engage internal audiences, local partners, and the public. Request a demo today and learn how you can benefit from LiveStories.