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You can “catch up” by moving forward quickly to prepare for the end of the fiscal year by doing each of the following:

1.Ensure that each of the implementation strategies and programs are currently being implemented. Check in with program leaders to determine if all strategies and programs identified in the CHNA are underway, if they are on schedule or not, and if there are any barriers to implementation. Some hospitals outlined strategies for new programs that required funding before implementation could begin, while others simply extended current community benefit programs. If implementation efforts are stalled for any reason, determine if barriers can be eliminated to ensure successful implementation.

2.Establish outcome and impact measures. Many important community education, outreach and screening programs were designed as community benefit activities and only track the number of people who attend. This is an output measure. To establish outcomes and impact measures, hospitals and health systems must think creatively about what happens as a result of the program activities and set up a tracking system for the results, beyond what is typically tracked for 990 community benefit reporting. For example, one of our clients, Excela Health in Westmoreland County, PA, identified breast cancer as an important CHNA priority. Like many hospitals, they provide breast cancer education and screenings at health fairs. They enhanced this practice by having mammogram schedulers onsite to make appointments. They have several points in the process to measure impact. First, the number of women who attend a program or receive a screening is an output. Second, the numbers of women who schedule a mammogram and who complete a mammogram as a result of attending the program are outcomes. The number of women who were diagnosed with stage 0 or 1 breast cancer is an impact. Furthermore, the health system can quantify the financial impact of long-term cost savings associated with this early diagnosis. Figuring out how to track the women across the care system to document these outcomes and impacts is a data collection and reporting challenge. A “system” must be developed for the tracking and reporting of each of these pieces of data if the reporting mechanism does not already exist.

To learn more about how to be prepared for your next Community Health Needs Assessment join Debbie Thompson's Webinar on Wednesday, September 17 from 2:00-3:30 pm EST. Click the button below to register.