The rapid and constant change in healthcare is daunting. Current government regulation and the threat of future mandates are changing the landscape in policy, economics, and practice. Add this to everyday, fast-paced advances in technology, workforce demands, and dynamic community needs, and healthcare leaders will be pressed to manage and allocate resources like never before.
For healthcare organizations to continue providing high quality services in a cost-efficient manner, it is paramount to follow a rigorous discipline of community needs assessment, strategic planning, and continuous improvement. They provide a guide for any long-term decision-making or dynamic planning process.
Community Needs Assessment
A community needs assessment is a thorough review using research and data-rich analysis to enable healthcare organizations in developing compelling solutions that satisfy community needs, capitalize on market opportunities, and mitigate possible threats. Successfully delivering on mission now and into the future requires an understanding of the community’s needs and projecting what those needs will be in the months and years ahead.
A thorough understanding of community healthcare status and needs is vital. With this information, healthcare providers can compare current community needs with their capacity and ability to deliver to meet them. A community needs assessment should also predict demographic and socioeconomic changes and subsequent healthcare needs of the community. This data is critical to the effectiveness of a strategic planning process. The community needs assessment is primary data to feed into the situational analysis of a healthcare provider’s strategic plan.