GovLoop Project of the Week – HRSA Web Content Strategy Transformation Project

1. What does HRSA do?

The Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) is the primary Federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. HRSA improves health and saves lives by making sure the right services are available in the right places at the right time.

Some of HRSA’s programs GovLoop readers might be most familiar with are:

· Organ and tissue donation and transplantation coordination

· The Ryan White HIV/AIDS program

· Federally-funded health centers, with free and reduced-cost primary health care

· National Health Services Corp, which helps place health care workers in underserved areas.

2. How did this web content strategy transformation come about?

HRSA had been trying to build a unified web presence across its many programs. It became apparent that slow, methodic restructuring of components was insufficient to affect the dramatic change necessary to keep the HRSA website relevant. HRSA also wanted to leverage the HHS-wide license for the Percussion content management system (CMS). HRSA contracted with Aquilent to develop and deploy a content strategy across the HRSA Enterprise Web to bring top level pages into a workable information architecture, quickly. Aquilent has:

· Developed a strategy that leverages the Web as a primary communications vehicle for HRSA

· Established framework for future web content and feature development

· Established plan for maintaining and extending HRSA’s web presence (including maintenance and continued
migration of content to its CMS)

Some of the methods Aquilent has used to help transform the HRSA web include:

· Content Analysis

· Audience Analysis

· Information Architecture Development

· Taxonomy Development

· Web Template Development

· Implementation and Style Guide Creation

· Iterative Usability Testing

3. How will the data be transformed? What new/interactive ways will it be available?

Aquilent partnered with HRSA to improve the way the data story is told and presented for their Uniform Data System (UDS), which is the data set that captures all the reporting requirements for HRSA’s Primary Health Care Program.

We did an overall evaluation of the current UDS sub-site design and talked extensively to its various stakeholders, including HRSA data staff, HRSA project officers (personnel responsible for working with HRSA grantees and monitoring their performance), researchers and public health analysts, current grantees, Primary Care Associations (PCAs), etc.

We then transformed the way the data is presented first by establishing a usable framework to present the data. This framework (or redesign) includes grouping data categories into more digestible chunks, changing the language and labels used to me more user-friendly, providing tool tips and page introductions to establish the context by which the data should be viewed, and developing web pages that balance traditional data formats, text, and new data visualizations.

Next we focused on working with the HRSA staff to identify new ways to present the data including: demographic trends, a snapshot of the current reporting year (total number of grantees, total number of health center staff, total amount of appropriations, etc.), programmatic and performance trends, and insight into how individual states rank against the reported criteria.

In addition, we developed tools that allows end-user to filter the data being viewed by pre-defined facets and added a data comparison. Now end-users can compare data for a given year by a set of predefined comparisons: National data vs. state data, comparing one state to another, and then the national or state data to a HRSA-defined region of the U.S.

HRSA was already using a visualization tool called Corda CenterView, which produces 508-compliant charts, graphs, and other visual tools from the HRSA dataset. Aquilent worked with HRSA’s Office of Information Technology to present key subsets of the data into visual formats and have provided the ability for end-users to share, download, and print these charts. Health center staff, in particular, don’t have the staff to focus on compiling their data into usable formats and now can simply download charts at the national and state level of detail.

4. How will this affect HRSA?

This redesign and transformation of the presentation of data will increase the transparency that the public has into its Health Center Program. HRSA can more effectively communicate the impact and reach of this program, including updates implemented as the results of the American Recovery Act. Now, when Congress, researchers or potential grantees visit the UDS web site they will immediately view results and understand how the program is performing. This makes the HRSA web site more dynamic and relevant – a key into any successful web site.

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Andrew Krzmarzick

Great post, Naomi. As someone who has written scores (maybe hundreds?) of grants to receive HRSA funding, I can attest to that fact that this change should be incredibly useful. Many non-profits, cities, school districts and others that apply for government funding to sustain their programs need robust platforms to analyze health data and make the case for need in their states and communities. This transformation of web content (though I have not used the new tools yet!) appears to be a huge step in the right direction…can’t wait to create some charts and graphs and drop them into proposals to wow the reviewers!


Interesting to see the project evolve and how a website evolves. It also was fun for me to learn about an agency that I was not deeply familiar with and check out their website.