Streamlining health data reporting in Tulsa County, Oklahoma

  • Replaced a static, 150-page PDF with interactive, user-friendly LiveStories website.
  • Increased team’s efficiency through simpler data and chart creation tools.
  • Enabled easier, more frequent updates to report’s data and content.
  • Streamlined data requests from media organizations.
Tulsa Health Department - LiveStories Case Study

Customer Case Study

Tulsa County, OK
Population: 646,266 (2017 est.)
Use Case: County Health Status Report

As Tulsa Health Department’s epidemiology supervisor, Luisa Krug analyzes a variety of data sources to identify needs and trends in Tulsa County. This data includes top causes of death, infectious disease trends, and life expectancy, as well as data related to the social determinants of health. Krug and her team communicate health data to their communities through a series of reports. One of the most critical of these reports is the Tulsa County Health Status report.

It’s important for us to be a trusted source of data in the community. One of the best ways that we can have a healthier community is helping people understand if things are moving in the right direction or not. That helps us and other programs make the biggest impact.
— Luisa Krug, Epidemiology Supervisor at Tulsa County Health Department

Wasting Time with Lengthy PDFs

Prior to LiveStories, Krug and her team’s County Health Status report was a static 150-page PDF, produced once every three years. “It was great data,” Krug recalled, “but it wasn't necessarily accessible to the public or our community partners.”

Moreover, since it was such a large document to print, Krug’s team couldn’t always include all of the data they had. “We had to pick and choose stuff,” Krug said. In addition, they weren’t able to update it more than every three years, since it was such an intensive process to republish.

Krug and her colleagues were also hampered by an inefficient workflow while creating the PDF. “In the past,” Krug said, “the way we would do the health profile was by breaking it up—I would do most of the data analysis, and another person would do the mapping, and another person would do the graphic designing.” The process required multiple specialists, each with time-consuming review processes.

Using LiveStories gives people a better idea of how much data we have, where to find it, and how to contact us if there are things that they need.
— Luisa Krug

LiveStories: Faster Report Creation—And More Frequent Reporting

Krug and her team first started using LiveStories in November 2016. With LiveStories, they have created a number of different reports including an annual report, mosquito borne surveillance report, a flu surveillance report, and a County Health Status Report.

According to Krug, LiveStories made the report creation process more efficient in two main ways: by reducing the need for specialists, and by making it trivial to update or change content.

With intuitive data analysis and chart creation tools, along with a WYSIWYG webpage builder, LiveStories eliminated the need for multiple people working on specialized tasks, Krug said. Plus, the LiveStories interface made it easier to review work. “It was a lot less time consuming than going back and forth with proofs.”

Krug also appreciated the ability to instantly publish revisions on LiveStories. “This report is very comprehensive and I worked really hard on it,” Krug said, “but I found things that are wrong with it very regularly, like typos, or things that I decide later I want to add. It's nice that I can go back and do that now. And we have it on our website when we last updated it just for documentation purposes.”

Using LiveStories, Krug now plans to update their County Health Status Report on a yearly basis, instead of every three years. By updating it every year, Krug wants to ensure that “people continuously have access to the most updated data that we have.”

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Breadth + Depth: Tulsa’s report presents a huge amount of information in easy-to-navigate chunks. Readers can dive into the data as deep as they like.

Engaging the Public with Breadth + Depth.

The County Health Status Report contains a great variety of data. Sources include the American Community Survey, vital records data that Krug’s team got from the state department, along with survey data. In contrast to the long, linear format of a PDF, LiveStories enabled Krug’s team to present these facts and figures in a more engaging way.

“It was great to transition to something online because it was more interactive. People could look at what they really cared about,” Krug said. On LiveStories, the County Health Status Report is organized as a microsite, divided into eleven topical pages, such as Demographics, Socioeconomic Status, Healthy Behaviors, and Mortality. Thus, readers can instantly dive into the topic they care most about.

Each topic page presents an overview, then lets users drill down into the indicator details. Charts are interactive, so readers can hover over them to get a closer look at the data. The LiveStories format also enabled Krug’s team to provide context around each indicator, explaining what the data means, why it’s important, and how Tulsa County is doing.

Media Requests Made Easy

In addition to engaging the public, the LiveStories format also simplifies dealing with media requests about county health data. Since publishing the County Health Status Report, Krug has noticed a decrease in the number of media requests and back-and-forth communications with journalists.

“We get a lot of calls from the media and any opportunity to provide education is always appreciated,” Krug said. “But if all they need is just a number it's nice for them to do that on their own and know they have access to our most up to date information. On more than one occasion, I’ve directed people to this site, and they haven't had to follow up with me.”

Beyond streamlining media requests, Krug believes LiveStories will make Tulsa’s data more useful and impactful to the community overall. “Using LiveStories gives people a better idea of how much data we have, where to find it, and how to contact us if there are things that they need,” Krug said. “Hopefully it makes people more willing to use this kind of information when they are writing grants.”

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