The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department has launched a new website designed to help the public more easily access health information. It was built as a service-oriented site using statistics of how visitors use the site and input from Health Department workers and clients. It is hoped that this new user experience will promote better health in our area.
The site was built in-house by Hamilton County Government IT personnel with mobile technology in mind. According to the Pew Research Center, 63% of adult cell owners use their phones to go online. The Pew data also show that younger adults, minorities, and lower-income Americans rely more on smart phones to access the internet than desktops or laptops. The Health Department met this rising need by making the site mobile-friendly.
“This is just one more tool in our effort to improve the health of our residents,” explains Becky Barnes, Administrator of the Health Department, “When people are informed they are more likely to make healthier choices.”
While the web address is still Health.HamiltonTN.org, the most noticeable changes are the look and usability. Increased white-space and less text reduce eye strain and mental fatigue. Convenient drop down and sidebar menus make finding services and information faster and more user friendly. The Home Page will feature rotating modules depending on seasonal or other timely public health topics. If the user cannot locate the topic for which they are looking, the Search feature is a powerful assistant.
The top 5 most frequently hit pages are:
- Vital Records (birth and death certificates)
- Clinic Locations
- STD Clinic
- WIC (Women, Infants, Children)
The site also has a calendar of health-oriented events, located in the bottom quick link bar. Any community organization can submit their not-for-profit health events to our calendar by emailing or calling our Public Information Officer (PIO).
“Although the website is the keystone for our online presence.” says Tom Bodkin, Health Department PIO, “We also ask the public to “like” our Facebook page and “follow” us on Twitter (@HamiltonHealth). In times of crisis or emergency we will be using the website, social media, and other official news outlets to keep the public informed. If you’re not following us, you could miss vital information.”
At the bottom of every page is a “Comment/Info” link that anyone can use to contact the Health Department, although we suggest they first use the Health Department Phone Directory to call the specific department they want.