Posted By Monique Dever On March 24, 2015
Community Health Assessments (CHAs) have been around for more than 20 years and are used by Local Health Departments (LHDs) to develop a 3 or 4 year Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). If your county has not conducted a CHA within the last couple of years, here are some changes the North Carolina Institute for Public Health (NCIPH) wants you to know before you get started.
Once your team has collected data, both primary (through surveys) and secondary (by gathering data from other sources), every health department has to select three community health priorities. Of the three priority concerns chosen, two must be evidence-based strategies (EBS) defined by the goals and objectives of Healthy NC 2020.
When selecting EBS, consider your available resources. Starting in 2015, for each EBS you select, you must also provide an accompanying action plan for staffing, training, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
Selecting the right EBS is critical for LHDs and should be targeted to the health priorities identified during the community assessment. EBS are proven to have positive outcomes and can improve the delivery of programs, interventions and policies. They can also maximize impact with minimal financial resources. However, not all strategies are right for all departments and populations so you need to choose carefully. Make sure you have the proper resources to achieve a positive outcome.
Electronic Health Record (EHR) software and information technology can be a huge help to public health departments when conducting community assessments and tracking progress against Healthy 2020 goals. Additionally, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) has a full library of resources that can help guide you through the complete CHA process.