For hospitals and healthcare systems on schedule to complete a community health needs assessment in 2022, planning should be underway. Conducting a comprehensive CHNA is a multistep process. Achille Buchanan highly recommends including time in the planning process to reflect on previous accomplishments and strategize actions. This leaves time to accurately define the service community, assess potential collaborators and plan the research phase.
Community health is in a continual state of transformation therefore it is essential to account for changing demographics, environmental factors and health disparities. It is important to consider communitywide activities by other agencies or organizations that may be addressing issues identified in previous CHNA’s. Now is also the time to identify internal staff members who will be responsible for and lead the assessment efforts while working with a professional consultant.
For CHNA consultants, the goal of completing an accurate CHNA is to help healthcare systems deliver services that result in better care, lower costs and overall improved health while meeting Affordable Care Act requirements.