Redefining the 'H'

A society of healthy communities, where all individuals reach their highest potential for health: that has long been the vision of America's hospitals. But our communities, and the people who are building their lives and their families in them, are changing at a rate rarely experienced in our nation's history. That means that our hospitals, health systems and health organizations must change, too, in order to advance health in America.

Hospitals understand that local conditions have a huge impact on the health risks and health outcomes of the people they serve. Everything from a lack of access to healthy foods to a lack of safety at the local playground can create differences in health. Addressing these challenges is crucial to building healthy communities. Hospitals leaders are working with other local leaders to make changes that promote good health for all of their neighbors.

Hospitals also know that every community is unique. Many have populations that are far more diverse than they were even a decade ago; others have far more seniors or children. Providing health care with an individual, culturally competent approach to each population group leads to better health outcomes.

To meet our communities’ constantly evolving needs, hospitals and health systems are determined to reach their own potential for change.

  • They are re-examining the very definition of what it means to be a hospital, creating new models of care that emphasize collaboration among not only caregivers but also with patients and their families.
  • Hospitals are recalibrating their place in the communities they serve. They are coordinating more closely with business, government and civic leaders, as well as with other health care providers, to preserve coverage, ensure that people have access to health care and address unmet needs, even before they emerge.
  • Hospitals are working to keep people healthy and out of the hospital by going beyond their four walls. They are providing more community-based care and are also leading efforts to help their neighbors lead healthier, happier lives.
  • Hospitals are embracing diversity in their management and leadership to better inform their efforts to provide more equitable care so that everyone reaches their highest potential for health.
  • They are working to embrace new technologies while delivering better, more cost-effective care.