The Henry and Stark County Health Department's staff is continually
striving to keep up-to-date on the latest technological trends and
innovations to better serve the people of Henry and Stark Counties.

   The Henry and Stark County Health Department's staff is continually
striving to keep up-to-date on the latest technological trends and
innovations to better serve the people of Henry and Stark Counties.

   RaeAnn Tucker-Marshall, Health Department Director of Public Information
states, "This includes using and integrating  21st Century communication and
social media tools.  The fact is that a Health Department program or service
is of no use to our residents, if they don't know about them."

   In the last several years, the use of Websites, Facebook, Blogging,
Texting, Email, Twitter, and other social media tools to disseminate health
messages has grown significantly, and continues to trend upward.  These
tools have become an effective way to expand reach, foster engagement, and
increase access to credible, science based health information.  In other
words, integrating social media into public health communication campaigns
and activities allows the health department to encourage participation,
conversation and community - all of which help spread key messages and
influence health decision making.  Social media also provides flexibility.
It reaches people when, where, and how they want to receive health
information; it improves the availability of content and may influence
satisfaction and trust in health messages delivered.

   The following is a rundown of current and future media tools utilized by
the Health Department to better serve area residents:

Website:

   The Health Department's Website located at www.henrystarkhealth.com is a
very important marketing tool in today's society, where a large percent  of
our population has internet access available to them, at all times.  People
want their information fast and easily accessible.  The Department posts all
current news, upcoming events, monthly specials, and program information on
its website.  This enables the public to have up-to-date information in a
timely manner.  The Department is also considering the use of QR codes as
another marketing tool in the future.  This would allow us to put codes on
posters, brochures, and other promotional materials that could be scanned by
a smart phone or any other "smart" device.  This would then take customers
directly to the appropriate page on our website for more information on the
subject.

Facebook:

   The Health Department has witnessed the tremendous growth in social
networking sites . In fact, 46% of online American adults 18 years old and
older use a social networking site.  Social networking sites are very
popular and are being used by millions of people every day to interact,
share and learn.  These sites are online communities where people can
interact with friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, and others with
similar interests.  On Facebook alone, users spend almost an hour a day on
the site.  In response to these compelling statistics the Health Department
has established a Facebook presence at "Henry and Stark County Health
Departments." The Health Department's Facebook page strives to provide area
residents with an immediate and personal way to learn more about our
programs, services, current activities,  health promotion and education
measures, and emergency messaging.

Blogs:

   Blogs are regularly updated online journals that almost anyone with an
internet connection can use.  Blogs can share content in a way that allows
readers to leave comments and engage in discussion.  A blog can be used to
discuss a topic that may be too complex for a tweet or Facebook post, and
gives any topic a more personal and engaging presence.

   Tucker-Marshall and the Health Department currently have featured Blogs
on several local newspapers' websites.  Department blog postings can be
found on the Kewanee Star Courier, Galva News, Cambridge Chronicle, Orion
Gazette, and Geneseo Republic websites.  Tucker-Marshall adds, "We are so
lucky to enjoy great support from our local print and radio media. Our blogs
are just another important avenue of communication to our local residents."

Email and Mobile Technologies:

   Tucker-Marshall notes, "The Health Department currently uses email to
send out notices of events, specials clinics, and monthly specials.
However, this is an area we hope to really expand upon.  Our goal is to be
able to blast email Health Department promotions to area businesses,
churches, school districts, and civic organizations;  being able to send
Health Department messaging at literally the click of a button instead of by
costly and cumbersome mailings would save the Department both time and
money."

   Mobile Technologies include the use of mobile phones and text messaging.
The Health Department has access to the State of Illinois "Siren" Rapid
Electronic Notification System. This system allows the Health Department to
reach all employees with important messaging and notifications within
minutes; thereby enhancing Emergency Preparedness communication capabilities
in times of crisis.  So when a disaster or emergency strikes Health
Department employees will be alerted and respond accordingly.

   The Health Department, at present, uses Text Messaging to send out
messaging through their Breast Feeding Peer Counselor.  However, future text
messaging applications could include sending out information and reminders
to clients, posting available staff positions, promoting clinic specials,
activities and special events, and emergency notifications.

   Your Henry and Stark County Health Department hopes to remain responsive
to the needs of area residents and plans to continue this goal by staying
abreast of the latest in 21st Century communication methods.  For more
information about the Health Department call (309) 852-0197 or visit our
website at www.henrystarkhealth.com or find us on Facebook at Henry and
Stark County Health Departments.