Healthy Mason County: Bringing Accessible Data to Local Public Health


  • CHIP Challenges for Small Counties
  • Instant Web Publishing with LiveStories
  • An Easier Way to Communicate Data
  • Gaining the Confidence to Innovate
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Customer Case Study

Mason County, WA
Population: 63,710 (2017 est.)
Use Case: Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP)


Mason County, Washington is a small community, with a population of about sixty-six thousand people. When Alison Smallwood first came to LiveStories, she was looking for a solution to put more health information in front of her community. When I asked Alison what brought her to LiveStories she responded, “The whole department for the past probably ten years has been trying to find a tool to publish our community health improvement plan.”

CHIP Challenges for Small Counties

A community health improvement plan (CHIP) is a collaborative action plan created to help improve community health, typically in response to a community health assessment. Creating a CHIP usually requires:

  • A data collection process

  • A data analysis process

  • A data communication and education process


Alison’s department shares information with the community on the health department webpage, which is tightly controlled by the county. In an era where social media platforms allow anyone to publish anything instantly, the lengthy approval process for publishing new information on government websites can feel glacial. To rectify this, Alison decided to look for a solution that would allow her to share information directly with her community.

Small counties like Mason County often have limited resources to spend on technology. Within community health, there is a strong requirement to not only create impact but also to communicate impact. Too frequently, Alison was inhibited by not being able to easily update information or publish new materials online, which resulted in outdated data on the website.


[LiveStories] has given me confidence in the fact that I was innovating for a county that was struggling to innovate.
— Alison Smallwood

Instant Web Publishing with LiveStories

With LiveStories, Alison could build her own website and take back control of her work. The software made it easy to do more on her own, while also saving time and money previously spent going back-and-forth in feedback cycles, negotiating changes with developers, and waiting on approvals.

I’m not a tech person, and I don’t know how to build a website. So, I bought a website, and I have that domain forward to the homepage of my LiveStory.
— Alison Smallwood

She was able to immediately publish new data to her website by updating a Google spreadsheet, which she uses to power her visualizations.

“That was a huge appeal when we came across LiveStories and a big part of why we ended up purchasing it.”

Alison found that the automatic update process could save her time because she no longer was required to recreate her charts after new data was available. Now, Alison can simply update her spreadsheet and know her page will be up to date in the morning. She also takes advantage of our data library where her community can find public information from organizations, such as the Center for Disease Control, the American Census Bureau, and more.


Opioid response page.

Opioid response page.

Community Health Assessment (CHA) page.

Community Health Assessment (CHA) page.

Housing and homelessness.

Housing and homelessness.

Mason County Public Health has built out a number of pages on their Community Health Needs Assessment site to understand community health from a high level.


An Easier Way to Communicate Data

Alison has also used LiveStories for other projects beyond the CHIP. A new grant enabled her team to expand the scope of her work with LiveStories to also communicate her department’s response to the increasing number of opioid overdoses occurring in their county.

“LiveStories has been a great resource for us to be able to do the coordination work we are being funded to do. We have utilized LiveStories to, create various pages to let the public know not only what our county is doing but what other resources exist and what other organizations are doing.”

Ultimately, Alison was responsible for bringing data visualization and utilization to the Mason County, WA.

It’s given me confidence in the fact that I was innovating for a county that was struggling to innovate.
— Alison Smallwood

Prior to using LiveStories, Alison was pointing her community to PDF links buried on Mason County’s website. Now, she can point them straight to her website, where the information is dynamic and instantly updated. Through this process, Alison has brought new technologies and new capabilities to her community’s health department.


Learn how your community can get a modern data report with LiveStories.