2017 Bright Idea
County of Wake, NC
January 1, 2017
North Carolina

While Wake County regularly conducts sanitation inspections at more than 2,600 restaurants and posts the information to the county’s website, county employees recognized that not many people think to visit government websites for restaurant information. In order to ensure that public health data is reaching as many community members as possible, county health officials partnered with Yelp, the most prominent online guide for places to eat, to share inspection results information. Wake County automatically pushes its sanitation scores daily to Yelp so visitors will see a restaurant’s inspection score next to its customer reviews. Clicking through the scores also provides users with a high-level summary of the infractions in an easy-to-understand summary. This helps to serve people of the community and visitors in a broader way. Through an interface developed by Wake County staff, a query of the Wake County database of health inspection scores and data dynamically updates the county data in the Yelp system. This partnership also resulted in the development of the Local Inspector Value-entry Specification (LIVES) data standard to ensure uniformity of health inspection scores across all jurisdictions, nationwide. It is now being used for all new similar projects as other municipalities add their data to the Yelp database. There were no direct costs associated with this project, only a small amount of staff hours to establish the data connection and ensure that the information was consistent with Yelp’s friendly tone.