Top 5 Community Health Concerns

Top 5 Community Health Concerns

Put Your CHNA to Work to Address these Issues 

By Brett Barrier

Over the past several years, Stratasan’s Strategic Advisory Services team has completed more than 50 CHNAs. This work is done side by side with a hospital and their community in an effort to assess the health of the community and develop a plan for addressing top health concerns. Over time we’ve noted trends in common health concerns and how community involvement is so important to make the changes needed to correct these issues. In this post, we’ll discuss these findings in more detail.

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Top Community Health Concerns

While a CHNA is required for nonprofit hospitals every three years, all hospitals can benefit from performing one periodically. The insights gleaned can be vitally important for highlighting health issues that need attention. 

Here are the top five community health themes uncovered in our CHNAs:

  1. Mental Health and Substance Abuse: Mentioned in 21 out of 23 of our CHNAs, this was also the number one health priority in ten CHNAs. 
  2. Obesity: The need for healthier eating and a more active lifestyle
  3. Access to Care and Insurance 
  4. Socioeconomics: Access to affordable housing, homelessness, and family issues
  5. Chronic Disease

The CHNA process brings to light the complexity of community health. It is multilayered and no health issue is independent. Healthcare doesn’t start or end in an ER or urgent care as exhibited by the social determinants of health. Rather, healthcare is seen in every aspect of the community from schools to cultural norms to business and industry. As noted in this Washington Post article about America’s ‘fattest city,’ hospitals and communities must work together to improve health from many different angles, places, and programs. 

Data-Based Insights and Community Input

Stratasan’s Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) process is built on data and community input. The data used is collected in several ways—through a Strategic Market Analysis, primary research including focus groups and phone surveys, as well as secondary market data collection. While the data is an important foundation, community engagement is the key to success, as it allows the values and viewpoints of the community to drive strategic planning and future action. 

In order to see change and health improvements, it’s important for a hospital to use the CHNA process and an opportunity to collaborate with community stakeholders to prioritize health needs and brainstorm solutions. The hospital and community are then able to account for available resources and create an implementation plan that takes a collaborative approach to improve community health.

The Takeaway

A Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) is a systematic collection, analysis, and dissemination of information about the health of the community. It provides a foundation for improving and promoting the health of each community member. A hospital may take the lead in initiating the CHNA process, but collaboration with community leaders is the only way the CHNA implementation will work and lead to transformational health change.

For more information on how to facilitate a collaborative CHNA that can address health issues, engage your community, and prioritize top community health needs, schedule a discovery call with one of our experts today. Let’s discuss how Stratasan’s Strategic Advisory Services team can support your community and help you realize lasting change.

Article by Brett Barrier, Operations Coordinator for Stratasan
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