A powerful tool for hospitals to address priority health needs of their patient population and the community at large is the community health needs assessment. A new AHA guide, “Engaging Patients and Communities in the Community Health Needs Assessment Process,” describes an eight-step assessment and implementation pathway, with many additional resources. The CHNA process, if conducted systematically and with the active participation of patients, their families, community members and community organizations, provides a clear understanding of the community's health needs and priorities. This ongoing process leads to implementing community health improvement plans and increases a sense of ownership and shared commitment among the hospital, community organizations and populations served. The guide includes an asset-mapping tool for identifying and utilizing resources in the community for the CHNA; best practices for conducting community surveys, key stakeholder interviews and focus groups during the CHNA process; information about using EHRs for CHNAs; and many other resources and links to resources. The guide is a collaboration of the AHA's Association for Community Health Improvement and the Health Research & Educational Trust, with support from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.
HPOE.org offers many resources on conducting community health needs assessments and improving community health, including:
- Engaging Patients and Communities in the Community Health Needs Assessment Process (guide)
- Engaging Patients and Community Stakeholders in CHNAs (webinar)
- Community Health Needs Assessments: Getting More Value for Your Community and Your Hospital (webinar slide presentation)
- Hospital-Identified Priorities in Community Health Needs Asssessments (infographic)
- Healthy Children, Healthy Communities (chairman's file column)
- Approaches in Population Health in 2015: A National Survey of Hospitals (slide deck)i