Fighting the Flu with Fresh Data in Springfield-Greene County


Customer Case Study
Springfield, Missouri
Population 167,319 (2016)
Use Case: Community education

Our public understands the flu better because of LiveStories.
— Kathryn Wall, Public Health Information Administrator, Springfield-Greene County

Prior to LiveStories, Springfield-Greene County Department of Health struggled to communicate data to their community.

Kathryn Wall, Public Health Information Administrator, recalled that the website they used to communicate data was not interactive and garnered little interest from the media or the public. “The website itself wasn't especially useful," Wall said. "It really wasn't getting our message across."

Wall knew it was her community’s expectation and therefore her department’s duty to provide timely information on health topics concerning their community. They needed to streamline how they updated data about important health trends. “Our community expects that we have this data at our fingertips,” said Wall.

"It was a dream."

The process of implementing LiveStories in their health department was seamless. Wall describes what it was like working with the LiveStories team: “It was a dream.”

The first story Wall and her team published was their Weekly Flu Report. Wall included data addressing questions the public and media would want answered. “We went big for our first story,” said Wall.

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When it’s a busy flu season, I am really busy. So I wouldn’t necessarily have time, prior to LiveStories, to keep that page updated in the way I needed to.
— Kathryn Wall

The usability of data visualization and publishing was a key reason they chose LiveStories. “The ease of creating something very visually interesting that we could link out to other places—just that functionality was fantastic,” said Wall. “We could build a webpage in 20 minutes and be done with it.”

LiveStories also helped Springfield-Greene County standardize their data formatting so that everyone is on the same page. “It streamlines the process a lot more,” said Wall.  

Wall found LiveStories to lend itself to a variety of different backgrounds. “Just about anyone could create their own page very easily. People with no coding backgrounds and maybe no communications background—I can hand this over to people who know and love their programs. They are empowered to tell their own story.”

Streamlined Data Communications

The Weekly Flu Report provided the public with a variety of visualizations of trends in flu cases, including charts on trends by age and year. These trends allowed the public to draw their own conclusions without having to consult with public health experts. “People thought for themselves and that was the direct benefit from having that story,” Wall said. “It’s not just an expert telling you—you can look for yourself as well.”

It is not only a nice tool that we really enjoy, but it is resonating with the community as well.
— Kathryn Wall

In addition, the public is expressing direct interest in the Weekly Flu Report. The page views more than tripled between November and December of 2017, as people looked for information on flu season. “It is not only a nice tool that we really enjoy, but it is resonating with the community as well,” said Wall. For instance, a local news outlet aired a story featuring their Weekly Flu Report. “They did this entire story without us—which is a good thing in our mind,” said Wall.

LiveStories has helped Springfield-Greene County provide timely data to their community more quickly. For example, with the Weekly Flu Report, an epidemiologist updates a Google spreadsheet weekly and the new data is automatically published to the story. Wall says this created “a streamlined process that puts people more in touch with the data that we have.”

This process helps communication during a hectic flu season. “When it's a busy flu season, I am really busy. So I wouldn't necessarily have time, prior to LiveStories, to keep that page updated in the way I needed to.”

Wall and her team have created a series of stories for Movember around men’s health and the Nest Partnership for prenatal women and families with young children.

Next up, they are using LiveStories to create their Community Health Needs Assessment report. According to Wall, their last CHNA was around 1,300 pages and was a static report.  She is looking forward to seeing the impact the LiveStories interactive platform will make on the CHNA and the public’s reception to it. “I am really looking forward to what LiveStories can do to really make that data interactive and to help people understand the conclusions,” Wall said.