3. Community Health Status Assessment - Overview
The Community Health Status Assessment (CHSA) answers the questions: "How healthy are our residents?" and "What does the health status of our community look like?" The results of the CHSA provide the MAPP Committee with an understanding of the community''s health status and ensure that the community''s priorities consider specific health status issues, such as high lung cancer rates or low immunization rates.
The CHSA provides a list of core indicators (data elements) for 11 broad-based categories. Communities may also select additional indicators. By gathering data for each of the categories and assessing changes over time or differences among population subgroups or with peer, state, or national data, health issues are identified.
How to Conduct the Community Health Status Assessment
Step 1 – Prepare for the Community Health Status Assessment.
A subcommittee should be designated to oversee the CHSA. Members should include individuals who can assist with access to data as well as data collection, analysis, and interpretation. Community representatives also provide an important perspective. Once the subcommittee is assembled, members should review the CHSA steps and identify the skills and resources needed to conduct the activities.
Step 2 – Collect data for the core indicators on the CHSA indicator list.
During this step, data related to the MAPP "core indicators" (see MAPP Web site) should be collected, including trend and comparison data. Trend data will help to identify changes in data over time, while comparison data will measure a community''s health status against other jurisdictions. Data collection may require considerable time and effort. Therefore, it is important to begin this activity early in the MAPP process.
Step 3 – Identify locally-appropriate indicators and collect the data.
The selection of locally-appropriate indicators helps the MAPP Committee better describe the community''s health status and quality of life in terms that are of particular interest to the community. Additional indicators might be selected related to community interest in a specific topic, demographics in the area (e.g., an aging population) or information found in the core indicators (e.g., the need to look more closely at cancer rates). To keep data collection efforts reasonable in terms of time and resources, select indicators of high priority and relevance only.
Step 4 – Organize and analyze the data; develop a compilation of the findings; and disseminate the information.
Individuals with statistical expertise should analyze data. Disparities among age, gender, racial, and other population subgroups are especially important. Once the data are analyzed, a compilation of the findings or a "community health profile" should be developed. The community health profile should include visual aids, such as charts and graphs, to display the data in an understandable and meaningful way. The community health profile should be disseminated and shared with the community.
Step 5 – Establish a system to monitor the indicators over time.
During this step, the subcommittee establishes a system for monitoring selected indicators. This helps to ensure that continuous health status monitoring occurs and establishes baseline data upon which future trends can be identified. This system will also be instrumental in evaluating the success of MAPP activities.
Step 6 – Identify challenges and opportunities related to health status.
The CHSA should result in a list of challenges and opportunities related to the community''s health status. Data findings should be reviewed to identify challenges, such as major health problems or high-risk behaviors, and opportunities, such as improving health trends. Ideally, the final list will include 10 to 15 community health status issues that will be more closely examined in the Identify Strategic Issues Phase of MAPP.