Engaging Your Community In a CHNA

According to Robert Wood Johnson & University of Wisconsin Public Health Institute, 80% of health outcomes are associated with factors outside the traditional boundaries of healthcare delivery  — health behaviors (e.g., tobacco use, sexual activity), social and economic factors (e.g., employment, education, income), and physical environment (e.g., air quality, water quality).

The Internal Revenue Code 501 stipulates all not-for-profit hospitals must conduct a community health needs assessment (CHNA) every three years. It must include at least one state, local, tribal, or regional governmental public health department; AND, members of medically underserved, low-income, and minority populations in the community served by the hospital, or individuals or organizations serving or representing the interests of such populations. Finally, it is critical that the commentary from the previous CHNA be included as well as the action plan. An action plan must have addressed activities occurring outside the confines of the hospital given our statistic above on where health outcomes are being largely driven.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), by drawing upon the inside knowledge of community members, a hospital will have more diversity of opportunities, greater potential for impact, and enable long-term buy-in within the community.

Collectively, these benefits will improve sustainability of the CHNA intervention and action plan. So, a next question becomes segmenting the value of community members and stakeholders and identifying them from various populations.

Stakeholders will range from those that have high interest/high influence (aka promoters) to low interest/low influence (aka those who are indifferent). Stakeholders can be identified through various means including but not limited to CHNA Steering Committee, Marketing Department, Social Services as well as other organizations in the community who participate in similar efforts. Input can be gathered from stakeholders through interviews, focus groups, and surveys.

If you’d like further input on how HealthTechS3 facilitates CHNAs for its customers, including community engagement, please contact Carolyn St. Charles for further details at Carolyn.stcharles@healthtechs3.com