Chair Files

Tools for Assessing and Improving Community Health

A powerful tool for hospitals to address priority health needs of their patient population and the community at large is the community health needs assessment. A new AHA guide, “Engaging Patients and Communities in the Community Health Needs Assessment Process,” describes an eight-step assessment and implementation pathway, with many additional resources. The CHNA process, if conducted systematically and with the active participation of patients, their families, community members and community organizations, provides a clear understanding of the community’s health needs and priorities. This ongoing process leads to implementing community health improvement plans and increases a sense of ownership and shared commitment among the hospital, community organizations and populations served. The guide includes an asset-mapping tool for identifying and utilizing resources in the community for the CHNA; best practices for conducting community surveys, key stakeholder interviews and focus groups during the CHNA process; information about using EHRs for CHNAs; and many other resources and links to resources. The guide is a collaboration of the AHA’s Association for Community Health Improvement and the Health Research & Educational Trust, with support from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. offers many resources on conducting community health needs assessments and improving community health, including:


Additional Resources

Webinars September 21st, 2017

Housing and the Role of Hospitals September 21, 2017 Noon – 1:00 p.m. ET | 11:00 a.m. – Noon CT......

AHA/HRET Guides August 29th, 2017

This compendium features detailed descriptions of hospital-community partnerships from across the......

Webinars August 24th, 2017

Fostering Hospital-Community Partnerships to Build a Culture of Health It has become widely know......