Skip to main content

The many benefits of a strong Community Health Assessment

Community members with hands in union

Public health is trapped in an inverse relationship. It supports many needs with few resources.

A 2022 report from The Commonwealth Fund found that the U.S. spends twice as much on healthcare than the average, high-income country. In addition, we spend more on healthcare treatment and less on prevention, a primary focus of public health. Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, states, “[W]e don’t do as much primary care prevention as the other nations, and we still have a public health system, which is fractured . . . [We also] under-invest compared to other industrialized nations in societal things. They spend their money on providing upfront support for their citizens. We spend our money on sick care.”

If you work in a health department with a large underserved population, you are more aware than most of these realities. You may not be as sure, however, of the best way to meet critical community needs with limited available resources.

The power of the Community Health Assessment

A great way to identify these pressing needs is to administer an effective Community Health Assessment, which the Public Health Accreditation Board defines as “a systematic examination of the health status indicators for a given population that is used to identify key problems and assets in a community.”

PHAB requires a CHA for its accreditation program, and health departments report multiple benefits from striving for accreditation, including:†

  • more quality and performance improvement opportunities and a “strengthened QI culture;”
  • improved ability to identify and meet health needs and use evidence-based practices;
  • increased collaboration within and outside of the department;
  • better resource utilization and more funding opportunities; and
  • enhanced credibility, reputation and collaboration.

The CHA also meets the criteria for Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships.* In its new 2.0 version, MAPP is a well-established strategic planning process to improve community health, and it supports PHAB’s Domain 1 standards within its Standards & Measures for Initial Accreditation (2022 Version).

As close to a stress-free CHA as you can get

A CHA that includes data-rich analysis and robust survey responses helps your organization build process and population health strength. That kind of CHA can generate big ideas for your community health initiatives, improve collaboration and shift resources to where they’re needed most.

For every need your team faces, 10 more are lined up behind it. That’s where DataGen comes in. We’ve designed an assessment solution — CHA Advantage — that meets MAPP CHI objectives and PHAB Domain 1 standards and offers:

  • a streamlined process with clear guidance for collaboration;
  • customizable templates and standardized content for your survey and final written report; and
  • analyses of multiple data sets at the ZIP code level with recommendations from our experts.

CHA Advantage includes the Client Plan Timeline. This plan maps all CHA steps, actions and deliverables to a six-to-nine-month schedule and incorporates all MAPP CHI phases. (Did you know that those phases changed in 2022? Updates will continue throughout 2023 and include guidance on community partnerships, strategic priorities and survey interpretation).

MAPP 2.0 shows just how important it is to re-examine your CHA approach. The organization that created the model agrees. The National Association of County and City Health Officials notes that MAPP updates will “make it more community-driven, and grounded in concepts of health equity.”  

When assessments improve, public health practices and results can improve too.

It’s not just the time saved. It’s what you do with it.

It can be hard to visualize how abstract things like process design create more efficient community interventions. Here are some examples:

Would you rather…

  • scramble to find, capture and organize community data — or work with a partner that can provide pre-packaged data sets that help you identify needs faster?
  • create content from scratch with every survey, staff change and re-organization — or use pre-populated CHA reports, applying the time saved to identify more evidence-based practices?
  • carry the weight of unmet community needs — or address those needs through informed decision-making that could lead to more free cancer screenings, food banks and mobile health clinics in high-risk neighborhoods?

If you’d like to make your CHA process stronger and simpler, get started today with a free DataGen consultation.

*The National Association of City and County Health Officers created the MAPP strategic planning process.

†NORC at the University of Chicago. Assessing Outcomes from Public Health Accreditation: Evaluation Findings. June 2022 (update).


Popular posts from this blog

Unlock the Potential of Value-based Payment

A common misconception in healthcare practices: Organizations can quickly reap the benefits of value-based payment transformation. To launch a successful value-based payment program , practices must implement a variety of foundational pieces. It may take time, resources and data before a practice can successfully engage in VBP. In this blog, we'll cover what goes into VBP and its potential benefits. We'll also dig deeper into practice advancement strategies and how they can help you achieve your practice goals. What goes into VBP? Many practices want to implement VBP because of its payment structure and return on investment. Yet, they might not consider how to nurture a successful VBP program in their organization. It starts with a gap analysis regarding people, processes and technologies. It’s important to celebrate what is working well and intervene where improvement can be made. Successful VBP starts with the practice team. There are many perceptions vs. realities that exist

BPCIA: 4 fast facts for a successful Model Year 7 kickoff

Participation in Model Year 7 launched on Jan. 1, 2024, with the first few months being a critical time for providers. New Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced Model (BPCIA) participants got their footing, and continuing participants were able to change their clinical episode service line groups for the first time since 2020.  If you’re a provider participating in this model, read on for a BPCIA refresher and four fast facts for starting MY7 right. We’ll also cover core analytics activities to support your clinical and operational success.   4 Fast facts on BPCIA Model Year 7  1.   Focus on clinical episodes and episode volume  Before MY7 began, providers used historic baseline data provided by CMS to evaluate which CESLGs they would go at risk for, ensuring there would be sufficient episode volume. Large episode volume (100 episodes/year or more) reduces random variation and helps protect providers from financial risk associated with outlier Medicare episode spend.    During