Background: May is recognized as Stroke Awareness month and many stroke programs design public awareness campaigns to provide education about the signs and symptoms of stroke and modifiable risk factors. An essential element of any stroke program includes the education of the community about stroke prevention, recognition, and early activation. Prior to 2016, community education consisted of blood pressure and risk factor screening by in various community settings. In 2016, the health system incorporated internet and social media components to education and community outreach during Stroke Awareness Month.
Purpose: The purpose of this project was to analyze the added impact of incorporating interactive internet education and risk factor identification during Stroke Awareness Month.
Methods: In 2016 we conducted a stroke awareness campaign of traditional screening and education events in the community. At these events, persons were offered a blood pressure measurement, asked about risk factors, and educated on the signs of stroke. Persons were also directed to a stroke risk profiler on the health system stroke center page that stratified their risk and possible interventions to reduce risk. Additional outreach and education efforts included an internet campaign directing persons to the risk profiler via internal health system media and social media. Paid social media, search and display ads for stroke signs and stroke risk also directed persons to the stroke risk profiler.
Results: Traditional methods of education and screening yielded contact with 193 community members requiring approximately 50 hours of volunteer time. During May the web-based, interactive stroke risk assessment profiler was visited by 6,010 persons, and 1,570 fully completed the profiler. In subsequent months following the web-based community outreach campaign, traffic on the health system stroke center webpage remained at the high level of activity during May, and over 200% higher than traffic the previous year.
Conclusions: Stroke awareness education and risk assessment is feasible and efficient via the internet and using social media. Using the internet and social media expands the size and increases the interaction of the community reached during Stroke Awareness Month.