Case Study: Tracking Health in San Luis Obispo County

 

Location: San Luis Obispo County, California
Population: 269,860 (2010 Census)

Claire Hermann, an accreditation coordinator at San Luis Obispo Public Health Department, used to rely on a relatively old website to get her organization’s messages out to the public and stakeholders. Her department would also release long and detailed 50-page PDFs, with charts made in Excel—rather unwieldy for some readers. She began working with LiveStories to improve her messaging capabilities.

“We are so excited to see this kind of platform being developed for the public sector. This tool allows us to get the information out to the people who need it most.”
— Claire Hermann, MPP, Accreditation Coordinator at the San Luis Obispo County Health Agency

Payoffs of better data communication

For senior citizens, falling can be deadly. With its large population of seniors, fall prevention is a major concern for San Luis Obispo County. Hermann’s team’s first story on the LiveStories platform explored the county’s data on this issue. Her team already had the data (which had been collected from the local epidemiologist as part of a previous budget request), but they hoped to present the data in a more engaging and digestible way.

“One of the great things about LiveStories is the ability to scroll over and look further into the data," Hermann said. "The charts and graphs are wonderfully interactive and far more engaging than the ones we could put together in our PDF reports. And it is just easier to use—for us and for our audience.”

“The charts and graphs are wonderfully interactive and far more engaging than the ones we could put together in our PDF reports.”
— Claire Hermann

Hermann’s team submitted the original report to the budget office, along with a link to the LiveStory they created. Previous requests had been denied, but this time funding was confirmed for an additional staff person to help run the fall prevention program.

Getting the Message Out

Next, Hermann’s team used LiveStories to highlight the opioid epidemic in San Luis Obispo County, in collaboration with the California Health Care Foundation and the county’s Opioid Safety Coalition. She was impressed with LiveStories for its ease of use as well as how it enabled her and the coalition members to communicate more effectively with opioid prescribers and the public.

The team created a landing page focused on opioid data for her county. Thanks to interactive graphs that display data based on user actions, Hermann found that their LiveStory was more engaging than other approaches—not to mention the platform was far more user-friendly for her team than other tools available to her.

Her county’s opioid story made an impact:

“We were suddenly seeing images and graphs from our LiveStory on our local news… While the number of deaths and hospital visits related to opioids had been climbing steadily over the years, this was the first time people were left with a clear visual.  I think it helped them start to see the true magnitude of the issue.”

“We were suddenly seeing images and graphs from our LiveStory on our local news.”
— Claire Hermann

Better Communication, Inside and Out

Hermann found that LiveStories helped her team focus their communications—both for external audiences and internal collaboration. Instead of having to pass around 50-page PDF’s to colleagues for review, LiveStories enabled Hermann’s team to simply refer to a centralized website—no concerns about version control. LiveStories also helped her team write more succinctly and to-the-point—a useful change for today’s busy, easily-distracted online readers.

“We are so excited to see this kind of platform being developed for the public sector. In our line of work, budgets are tight, but the need to get effective messaging out there is pretty critical. This tool allows us to get the information out to the people who need it most, so they can make the important decisions necessary to keep our community as healthy as possible.”


 

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San Luis Obispo County 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.