Centers For Disease Control And Prevention

New Options Available to Visualize CDC Data

CDC’s surveillance systems track HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis, STDs, and TB. Getting this information to those who need it most in an accessible, usable, and meaningful format is a primary goal for CDC. The launch of Atlas in 2012 made this a reality with an online resource that gave users tools to create customized tables, maps, and other graphics with the most current CDC surveillance data. Now, we have launched CDC’s NCHHSTP AtlasPlus.

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Ideas on How to Keep Your Citizens Informed

As localities struggle with issues such as the Zika virus and the Opioid epidemic, gathering and disseminating trustworthy information can be daunting. But one group of Federal agencies and offices have come together to create a free and easy way to incorporate public health web content, images, video, microsites, data, and infographics into other sites, apps, and social media. Digital media syndication of science-based resources from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) can be combined with your ongoing activities and can help coordinate health messaging for maximum impact and reach.

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What is Citizen Science? A Recent Webinar Explores How the Federal Government Engages the Public via Crowdsourcing

From the National Park Service (NPS) to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of citizen science has become a prominent factor in the science community and a critical tool for the federal government. A recent DigitalGov University (DGU) webinar provides an introduction to the concept and shows how the federal government is using it to engage the public and address important issues. The federal government has seen a surge of citizen science initiatives thanks to several developments, starting with a memo from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) that outlined ways agencies can use citizen science.

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Summer Health and Safety: A New Resource Brought to You by CDC and NIH

****We have previously written about microsites in the federal government. A microsite is a small collection of web pages—a subset of an organization’s full website. Partners can embed microsites that present curated information on a specific topic or campaign directly within their own websites. And perhaps best of all, microsites that are API-enabled are maintained and updated by the source organization so that when updates are made, those updates are automatically made on partner sites in real time.

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The Data Briefing: What Makes a Great Federal Government App?

USAGov recently released a list of six great federal government mobile apps. There were many apps released by the federal government over the last 5-6 years on a wide range of topics and services. Many are well-designed and useful to the American public. So, what are the outstanding federal government apps for 2016? The Department of State’s Smart Traveler. First launched in 2011, this mobile app helps international travelers find U.

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How to Create Portable Content with Structured Content Models

Structuring your content for portability across media platforms gives your agency the ability to not only place your message on other properties, but gives you the assurance that your information will always be up-to-date across multiple platforms. This ability is never more important than during an emergency, whether it is a natural disaster or a health crisis such as the Zika virus disease. Three members of the Open and Structured Content Working Group discussed all things structured content during the “Creating Portable Content with Structured Content Models” webinar earlier this year.

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Microsites, They’re Bigger Than You Think

Lately, we have been hearing a lot about microsites—CDC’s Zika Virus microsite provides up-to-date information on the virus—but the big question is: What are they? A microsite is a single or small collections of pages that are meant to encourage user interaction while conveying information. A microsite has the power to educate consumers regarding a specific topic or just highlight a campaign. Microsites are separate from an organization’s full website and are dedicated to serving one purpose—thus eliminating the clutter and distractions that come with a full website.

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Designing User-Friendly, Educational and Engaging Mobile Gaming Apps

How do you reach audiences with important health information and leave users asking for more? Is it enough to create responsive websites written in plain language or to design apps with health tips optimized for handheld devices? While those ideas are a step in the right direction, we do not live in a world where, “if you build it, they will come.” With a slew of devices and an ever-increasing array of information sources, the most desired commodity in today’s crowd communication channels is attention.

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Microsites Keep Your Audience Updated on Outbreaks

You can now help your audience stay up-to-date on the Zika virus outbreak—and others—through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s microsite, which is an easily embeddable collection of virus information for your agency’s website. The Zika Virus Microsite is automatically updated on your site in real time as CDC updates existing Zika Web pages, according to the CDC. Staying current is made easy and maintenance-free. The microsite is built with Zika content, however the CDC now has the ability to quickly assemble additional embeddable collections that you can use on your site.

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The Content Corner: Four Ways to Help Your Content Stand Out

When discussing trends for 2016, I made some mention of the content overload that started in 2015 but will certainly increase in 2016. Contently recently found that organizations created 73% more content in 2015 than in 2014. I see no reason why that number will decline in 2016, especially as content becomes the beast of burden of choice for a majority of organizations both public and private. Today, I wanted to share some content types that you can leverage to possibly help stand out among the deluge.

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Content Models: As Simple as Pizza Pie!

Open and structured content models assist in the dissemination of information to various devices and media types. In the age of smartphones, tablets, social media tools, syndication and websites, the need for modular content is growing. How can you make your content adaptive to all of these mediums? Open and structured content models can help you create content that is platform-agnostic, format-free and device independent. Because, as Ann Mulhay, ex-CEO of Xerox succinctly puts it:

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Good Content Needs Plain Language

If good content is essential to good user experience, as Tyrus Manuel proposes in his November 23, 2015, DigitalGov post, then plain language is also part of good user experience. Plain language helps the public do what they need to do—find forms, apply for benefits, look up information and more—when they use federal websites and other digital tools. All federal agencies are supposed to implement the Plain Writing Actplain-writing-act-of-2010/), the law that requires plain language when we communicate with the public.

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The Content Corner: Structured Content and the Power of Syndication

A recent DigitalGov webinar on syndicated content and the recent achievements of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention helped open my eyes even wider to the possibilities of open and structured content. By offering critical health information via syndication, CDC and other Department of Health and Human Services agencies are helping resource-strapped local agencies share critical Web content with very little effort. APIs and Syndication Structured content and APIs form the core of any open content platform, whether it be syndication or other types of data sharing.

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#SomosSocial: 5 Keys for Government to Reach Hispanics Through Social Media

Hispanics are one of fastest growing demographics in the U.S. But like any demographic, there are important nuances to consider when connecting with this audience. Insight into your audience’s motivations, behavior and preferences is key for anyone trying to engage with the public. We know every day that more and more Hispanics are on social media, but on which platforms?, Where are they participating? And more importantly, in what language?

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The Data Briefing: White House Asks Data Scientists and App Developers to Help Suicide Prevention Efforts

The White House issued a call on September 30, 2015, for data scientists and app developers to help with a vital public health issue: suicide prevention. From the official announcement: “If you are a data scientist, analyst, tech innovator, or entrepreneur interested in sharing ideas and resources for suicide prevention, we want to hear from you! Please send a brief note about your ideas and resources to mbasco[at]ostp.

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Agile Strategy Implementation

The Challenge Much like GSA experienced three years ago, the Management Information Systems Office (MISO) organization at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had a vision, a crazy deadline, and the need to change and change fast. MISO is responsible for developing, maintaining, and managing a variety of enterprise business systems across the CDC. A strategic planning process launched last year laid out a vision called MISO 2020 that would transform the organization into a Center for Excellence for enterprise business solutions.

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PDFs: A Digital Content Detour

The Portable Document Format, or “PDF” file, is one of the staple productions of many communications professionals. It’s compact, prints exactly as formatted, and allows for clean, multiplatform distribution. However, it’s the old “U.S. Route” on the Digital Interstate. Let’s take an average user of a U.S. government website: a 45 year old PC user with Internet Explorer 10. Her child has a fever after eating at a restaurant, and wants to look up information on foodborne diseases.

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How Agencies “Pin” Down Their Audiences

While Facebook and Twitter are the most popular social media platforms (according to some rankings), your agency can and should evaluate the benefits of platforms like Pinterest, which have seen major growth in users and activity. In the last six months of 2014, Pinterest increased its membership by 57%, while Facebook and Twitter only grew by 6% and 18%, respectively. More than 60% of millennial moms use Pinterest, making it a platform perfect for agencies looking to communicate topics related to children and women’s health; DigitalGov previously discussed how the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Women’s Health used Pinterest as part of an inter-agency health campaign.

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Using Section 508 Guidance to Improve the Accessibility of Government Services

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to use accessible information and communication technology (ICT), whether procured, developed, or maintained. Since the U.S. Access Board issued regulations for the law in 2000, much implementation guidance has been prepared by various agencies. While the regulations are being refreshed to account for changes in ICT over the years, we can take advantage of existing guidance that applies accessibility guidelines in contemporary contexts.

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Customer Experience Roundup 2015

This month, our round up focuses on customer experience (CX). As I was rounding up the CX events and articles we’ve shared on DigitalGov over the past year, I realized that CX touches all of the work we do. From Web to mobile to contact centers and social media, we need to not only be aware of our customers’ experiences but also respond quickly and make changes that will enhance their experiences.

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New NIH Clinical Trials Media Player Now Available

Spread the Word about Clinical Trials! As we have recently seen with the Ebola outbreak, clinical trials are immensely important to medical advancement and treatment. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has developed a new syndication tool to disseminate NIH Clinical Trials information. This effort will help recruit, educate and promote the efforts of NIH Clinical Trials. The content of the media player displays basic information on clinical trials, related videos and how to find a clinical trial to participate in.

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Trends on Tuesday: Using SMS for Customer Support

Don’t forget, mobile first strategy can include text messaging and SMS, not just native apps and responsive Web design. Ninety percent of all SMS messages are read within three minutes of being received, according to a recent blog post on Gigaom. Paired with an average open rate of 98% (versus 22% for email) and the fact that any mobile device out there is able to read a text message, SMS is a great way to reach out to pretty much anyone.

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10 Years of Digital Government—A Retrospective

In December of 2004, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued the first Policies for Federal Public Websites. Over the past decade, we’ve seen technology completely transform how government delivers information and services to the public. On this 10-year anniversary, we’re taking a walk down memory lane to recap some of the pivotal moments that have shaped today’s digital government landscape. Year Activity 2004 February—Facebook launches (for colleges; opens to the public 2007) March—Interagency Committee on Government Information (ICGI) convenes to draft Web recommendations June—ICGI issues Recommendations for Federal Web Policies July—ICGI becomes the Web Content Management Working Group (predecessor to Federal Web Managers Council) August—HHS publishes its seminal Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines (foundation for Usability.

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Avoid an Awkward Family Thanksgiving with the Federal Apps Mobile Directory

Are you like me? Do you consistently eat too much on Thanksgiving to avoid invasive family conversations that have a high probability of 1) turning awkward and 2) forcing you to abandon a sworn blood oath to never again reveal details of your private life to loved ones? Don’t be like me. It’s your holiday, too, and there’s no need to sit quietly at the table with a full belly and sweating.

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Get More Health Content for Your Websites, Apps, and Social Media

Several federal agencies and offices have worked together to create a free and easy way for public health partners to incorporate our Web content, images, video, data, and infographics into other sites, apps, and social media. Through digital media syndication, the science-based resources of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) can be combined with your ongoing activities at the state and local levels, and can help coordinate health messaging for maximum impact and reach.

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Welcome to Mobile Gov Month on DigitalGov

What’s your mobile itch? A long time ago at a workshop not so far away…we asked the 40 federal government innovators who had released native apps this question. We wanted to know their biggest barriers, challenges, frustrations to building anytime, anywhere government. Their generosity in telling us those pain points informed 2011’s Making Mobile Gov Project, which identified 10 challenges to implementing mobile apps and responsive websites for public audiences in the federal government.

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Trends on Tuesday: Mobile App Pop Quiz

It’s time for a mobile pop quiz. How well do you know consumers and the time they spend on mobile apps? ComScore recently released the U.S. Mobile App Report which sheds light on how Americans use mobile apps. Test your knowledge with the five questions and answers below: Who is spending the most time in mobile apps? Millennials (18 to 34 year olds) spend more than 73 hours a month on mobile apps.

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Bullying: Help Prevent and Protect Anytime, Anywhere, on Any Device

I don’t remember being bullied as a kid, but my younger sister once was. When she was in junior high, a jealous schoolmate who ran in a small tough pack threatened to “beat up” my quiet, mild-mannered sibling at an unspecified time and day during her walk home from school. Sound familiar? Back then (in an era before text messaging and bullying awareness), a well-placed phone call to a high school football player friend of mine who knew said bully made that problem go away.

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The API Briefing: CDC’s API Delivers Free Up-To-Date Health Information for Your Blog or Website

The recent Ebola outbreaks demonstrate the need for current and authoritative health news. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the federal information source for Ebola and other infectious diseases, along with other public health data. Data.CDC.gov lists 48 datasets and views containing statistics from smoking to infectious diseases. Developers can use the Socrata Open Data API to pull JSON data into their apps. For those who are not developers, the CDC offers a way to embed health data into blogs, websites, and social media.

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CDC App Aids in Prevention of Neonatal Disease

The Centers for Disease Control has added another tool to its suite of mobile applications for healthcare providers and clinicians. The “Prevent Group B Strep” app provides specific, timely guidance to obstetric and neonatal providers to aid in the prevention of perinatal Group B Strep disease. The app’s simple interface delivers, through a series of yes/no questions, recommendations based on programmed algorithms underlying the current guidelines. With this app, healthcare providers and clinicians can:

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Trends on Tuesday: Have You Cut the Cord?

First, it was party lines. Then, it was the rotary phone. Now, two-in-five (41%) U.S. households have officially said goodbye to landlines, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s National Center for Health Statistics. If you have been keeping up with previous mobile trends, you won’t be surprised to learn who has decided to cut the telephone cord: An estimated 39.

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Safe Swimming This Summer (Can You Say That Four Times Fast?)

You don’t have to try too hard to get people into the water during summer. But swimming the healthy and safe way? Well, everyone could use help on that. Whether you are a swimmer, lifeguard, pool attendant or sun-loving spectator, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s Healthy Swimming iPhone/iPad app is for you. With a simple click or two, find the most accurate information about: Where we swim: Pool or ocean?

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Customization is Key to Better Mobile User Experience

Resources like Theresa Neil’s Mobile Design Product Gallery book and Mobile-patterns.com describe, and provide examples of, common features mobile developers can implement and tailored further to satisfy their users. As mentioned in this week’s Trends on Tuesday, customizing apps to meet users’ needs is a crucial part in maximizing user experience. Today, we wanted to highlight how some agencies are implementing search, maps & geolocation and custom navigation to better their mobile product’s user experience.

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Mobile REMM App: New Physicians’ Aid

The Department of Health and Human Service’s Mobile REMM App provides physicians and emergency medical staff with the latest and greatest information concerning radioactive and nuclear emergencies. Available on iOS, Android, and Blackberry platforms, the native application showcases comprehensive information concerning dose estimators and resources to initiate a variety of triages on site without requiring mobile connectivity. After its April update to 2.0.1, users now have access to management algorithms that provide scenario-based flowcharts to help in treatment decision making.

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Multilingual Digital Content

Federal agencies are required to provide meaningful access to government information to people with limited English proficiency. This applies to your agency’s digital content too. You need to determine how much information you need to provide in other languages, based on an assessment of your audience. The need is increasing The number of people who are not proficient in English is growing dramatically every year. According to the 2010 Census, there are approximately 25 million who speak a foreign language at home and whose English-speaking ability is at the level “less than very well.

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CDC’s “Predict the Flu Season Challenge” Could Keep You Well in the Future

The results of an innovative government prize competition might help you avoid the flu next season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced the winner of the “Predict the Influenza Season Challenge”: Dr. Jeffrey Shaman of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and his team submitted an algorithm to predict peak flu season using Google Flu Trends and CDC’s Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) data. The challenge was unique in that it asked participants to use digital data to forecast the start, the peak week, and the intensity of the U.

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CDC’s Digital Front Door Goes Responsive

Ask, and you shall receive. That was the strategy behind the new homepage from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new CDC.gov homepage debuted last month with a responsive design that offers a “one-site-fits-all” experience based on feedback from you, the public. Before setting out on their journey of Web redesign, the CDC team sorted through satisfaction survey and traffic data from more than 10,000 users who came to CDC.

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CDC’s New App Answers the Question: ‘Can I Eat This?’

I’ll be honest: When I had only heard the name of the new mobile app from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I thought, “Interesting — another dieting app to add to my phone.” So wrong was I. In fact, the only way you’re going to lose weight with this traveler’s app is if you don’t use it. And by “lose weight” I mean involuntary weight loss from retching over a large porcelain bowl—or worse, from being hospitalized for severe dehydration—having contracted food poisoning or a spectacular case of diarrheal disease while traveling abroad.

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