The Department of Health and Welfare’s innovative and award-winning social and community service referral website, “Live Better Idaho,” will be featured in an upcoming segment of “Informed,” a short-form documentary series that is distributed to Public Television stations in all 50 states and hosted by actor Rob Lowe.
“Informed” producers visited IDHW’s Central Office and the Idaho Statehouse on July 13 to film interviews of Department staff and Idaho citizens for the 3-5 minute educational segment to air on an upcoming program in the series, which highlights industry professionals and groundbreaking organizations.
“Live Better Idaho” is part of the modernization of service delivery that IDHW began in 2012 to improve the overall customer experience. Incorporating an ever-growing number of non-governmental organizations and community partners, the website was envisioned as an easy-to-navigate, consumer-friendly portal that would help all Idaho citizens – not just those receiving public assistance benefits – to “live better” with full knowledge of the programs, services and events available to them.
“The ‘Informed’ segment is going to help tell the story of how we addressed the challenge that families don’t know of, can’t find, easily access or connect with services – they are overwhelmed by our government bureaucracy and exhausted trying to ‘navigate the system,'” says IDHW Deputy Director Lori Wolff. “The recognition and success of the ‘Live Better Idaho’ initiative demonstrates when we empower families because they are people first and low-income second, their decisions, actions and priorities change. When we can influence that, as an agency we are much closer to having the impact that we all desire.”
During the filming, producers interviewed Wolff and various citizens and stakeholders who represented users and partners in the development of the Live Better Idaho website. Among them was Mike Walsh, the Rehabilitations Services chief of the Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Walsh said he was pleasantly surprised when DHW reached out to the Commission early in the web design process for feedback in building a website that would be not only functionally useful to those Idahoans with visual impairments, but also message to users in a way that was not condescending.
“I have been working in vocational rehabilitation much of my professional career and typical self-help resources have a stigma designed-in, starting from the premise that ‘Something is wrong with me, I’m broken’,” Walsh told the producers in his interview. “’Live Better Idaho’ does not speak to that at all. It is not bound by race, culture or class. It speaks to the dignity of all Idahoans.”