Sarasota Health News

It’s been some six weeks since I’ve updated the site, and now you know why: I’ve redesigned it from scratch — except for the logo at the top and my picture right here. Positive Health Wellness I figured regular readers needed something to know they were in the right place. And I love that logo.

While I love the clean, simple look of the original page — which was exactly what I requested from talented designer Malin Parker — I needed something that makes it easier to add and archive content. And I wanted something that get more stories in front of readers’ eyes as soon as they visit.

This allows me to group stories by category, so people can easily read through topics they like. It allows me to put two of the community-driven features, the health events calendar and the hospital report cards, prominently atop the page. And it allows me to build more resources like the collection of links at the bottom of the page.

I know there’s some tradeoff in readability and directness, but I think it’s worth it, and hope you feel the same way. I think we’re about 95 percent of the way there, but it’s definitely a work in progress and subject to change. Let me know what you think — that’s another advantage in the new design, the opportunities to comment on stories. And you still can send emails, of course.

The redesign came at a good time. Looking back, we launched this site at just the right time. Healthcare reform was a belligerent, confusing muddle of opinions, and I think we brought a little clarity to the picture. And there was the swine flu pandemic. While other media outlets were scaring readers with screaming headlines and overblown language, we stayed calm. We noted that the spike in cases was no sign of the apocalypse, but was tied to school reopening. And we were the first to spot and report on the downturn in cases, while other outlets were saying there was “no end in sight.”

But now healthcare reform is settled, more or less, and swine flu is mostly a bad memory (though we’re still watching the indicators). So what now?

I think it’s an opportunity to get back to the explanatory and watchdog reporting that I really enjoy. Hence the story posted today on trauma centers.

About a month ago, I was standing on the rooftop of Sarasota Memorial, watching the Bayflight helicopter land as part of an event to publicize trauma awareness month and the local hospital’s partnership with Bayfront Medical Center’s trauma center.

There were a slew of TV cameras and a couple of print reporters, and everyone dutifully reported the event for its face value. But thanks to the relationships I’ve built over the past four years here, I knew there was a bigger story, and that’s what you see today.

You’ll also see some of the site’s “greatest hits” from the past almost-year, like the hospitals-county dispute over the cost of uninsured care, the study on the relative health of Florida counties, and a feature on a family coping with ALS — all of them stories that you can find nowhere else.

So I’m going to try to keep bringing you those stories, the ones that pique my curiosity, the ones that tell you something about the cost and quality of healthcare in the community, and sometimes, the stories that strike me as simply worth telling, because they might touch you as they did me.

I’d like to see this site become a place where people can learn more about local healthcare and discuss it with others who have the same interest. So thanks for visiting, again, and come back again soon. I have a lot of stories to tell.