Community Health Status Assessment
With a population of approximately 6,000 residents, Miller County, GA, is a small rural county located in the southwestern corner of Georgia. In 1997, a coalition of community organizations and representatives embarked on a community strategic planning process to improve the healthcare system. As part of the process, the coalition conducted a broad-based community health status assessment.
To inform the planning process with accurate information about the health status of Miller County, a varied set of objective and subjective data was collected. Because the focus of the planning process was on the healthcare system, specifically, much of the data collection focused on information specific to healthcare services.
The elements of the data collection included:
- Demographic and Health Status Reports. These reports included population, economic, education, employment, health status, and crime data.
- Claritas Marketing Database Information. Claritas, Inc., a national marketing company, developed cluster health profiles about community lifestyles, including commonalties such as age, ethnicity, race, education, income, consumer preferences, and neighborhood location.
- Community Asset Mapping Results. Resources in Miller County were identified, including employers, lending institutions, healthcare, churches, civic organizations, and cultural groups.
- Community Health Assessment Survey. A survey was distributed to garner resident perceptions of:
- Most important health issues;
- Issues for which services were the least adequate; and
- Highest priority health problems.
- Key Informant Interviews. Coalition members conducted open-ended interviews with 70 community residents to identify overall needs and perceived problems.
- Telephone Opinion Survey. A random telephone opinion survey of 260 Miller County residents provided information about the quality of healthcare in the county and perceptions about, and use of, the Miller County Hospital.
- Economic Impact Study. An economic impact study explored the direct and indirect impact that the hospital has on the community.
- Regional Asset Mapping. A study identified health services available within Miller County's potential market area.
- Health Services Dollars: Patterns of Use. This study described how Miller County health care needs are currently being met and to identify opportunities for improvement. Claims data from Medicaid, Medicare, and Merit System employees were used.
Miller County collected a broad array of objective and subjective data that were used for well-informed decision making. The data collection efforts show how the coalition collected traditional data, but also focused their efforts on areas important to the strategic plan.