How Cadmus created and sustained a dynamic platform for health education programs to share, learn, and connect
Nearly 26 million people in the United States, including more than 7 million children, have asthma. These numbers are growing, and economically disadvantaged and minority children suffer a greater burden.
In 1999, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a national asthma education and outreach campaign to promote management of environmental triggers that impact asthma. EPA’s goal was to make environmental asthma management a standard approach to care in order to improve the health and quality of life for Americans with asthma, and to reduce the costs of asthma care.
A key component of the campaign was the annual National Asthma Forum (2006 – 2011), which spotlighted model programs, their health and cost outcomes, and strategies employed to achieve best-in-class results. The Forum also created mentoring connections between programs and demonstrated the value of sharing proven strategic, organizational, and financial tools to help communities rapidly improve the quality of their asthma care.
Challenge: EPA recognized the potential impact on the quality and outcomes of asthma care when community asthma programs found the tools and knowledge they needed. But it was financially and logistically impractical to convene in person, and the initial website that was developed was not robust, engaging, or informative enough to sustain the active campaign network that EPA sought in order to have a nationwide effect on asthma outcomes.
EPA asked Cadmus to create an advanced online solution to:
- Facilitate peer-to-peer learning
- Encourage the community of asthma programs, experts, scientists, and policy makers to contribute relevant content
- Motivate network members to visit the site frequently to find and apply relevant information and track and report on their progress by providing cutting-edge medical, environmental, financial, and organizational strategies for success
In addition to website development, Cadmus was tasked with generating fresh, topical site content, calling upon its own expertise in asthma management and tapping into the network of national experts EPA worked with in the asthma program.
Solution: In order to ensure the site functioned as a “one-stop shop” that best met Network members’ needs and conveyed information most effectively, Cadmus:
- Gathered stakeholder feedback
- Conducted focus group discussions
- Analyzed online communities with robust participation and measurable impact on health
We synthesized the results of this research into the new AsthmaCommunityNetwork.org in just six months. We also deployed a low-cost, yet highly functional, content management system platform to host the online network, making it easy to administer and maintain over time without requiring programmer support.
Cadmus led all aspects of the website development, including:
- Creating the site taxonomy
- Designing the user interface
- Developing functionality such as geospatial mapping to display program information
- Deploying social networking modules
- Designing interactive Web-based tools for tracking outcomes
Cadmus also hosts AsthmaCommunityNetwork.org to help ensure minimal site disruptions by actively monitoring the site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To make sure AsthmaCommunityNetwork.org addresses the needs and interests of asthma programs, Cadmus constantly develops new ways to engage site visitors, including developing podcasts, videos, interactive tools, and user-friendly features. Cadmus also creates new content featuring the latest topics in asthma management by engaging national experts and leaders.
“AsthmaCommunityNetwork.org is fantastic. I go there just about every day—the information is so relevant to my work. I tell everyone about it. I love it.”
—AsthmaCommunityNetwork.org feedback, June 13, 2013
Results: AsthmaCommunityNetwork.org launched during Asthma Awareness Month in May 2010. Since that redesign, Asthma Community Network membership and page visits have grown exponentially:
- 400 percent growth in Network membership since the launch of AsthmaCommunityNetwork.org
- 5,000 site visits per month on average, compared to an average of 800 site visits per month prior to June 2010
- 17,000 page views per month, compared to an average of 3,000 pages views per month prior to June 2010
The site has facilitated a vital and active community. Because the site is frequently updated with new content and features, visitors return often.
Members also contribute content and engage one another through the site’s discussion forum on ways to effectively achieve positive health outcomes by providing comprehensive asthma care at the community level.