Accredited Health Department Partnerships to Improve Health: An Analysis of Community Health Assessments and Improvement Plans

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Abstract

Context:

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) Standards & Measures require the development and updating of collaborative community health assessments (CHAs) and community health improvement plans (CHIPs).

Objective:

The goal of this study was to analyze the CHAs and CHIPs of PHAB-accredited health departments to identify the types of partners engaged, as well as the objectives selected to measure progress toward improving community health.

Design:

The study team extracted and coded data from documents from 158 CHA/CHIP processes submitted as part of the accreditation process. Extracted data included population size, health department type, data sources, and types of partner organizations. Health outcome objectives were categorized by Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicator (LHI), as well as by the 7 broad areas in the PHAB reaccreditation framework for population health outcomes reporting.

Participants:

Participants included health departments accredited between 2013 and 2016 that submitted CHAs and CHIPs to PHAB, including 138 CHAs/CHIPs from local health departments and 20 from state health departments.

Results:

All the CHAs/CHIPs documented collaboration with a broad array of partners, with hospitals and health care cited most frequently (99.0%). Other common partners included nonprofit service organizations, education, business, and faith-based organizations. Small health departments more frequently listed many partner types, including law enforcement and education, compared with large health departments. The majority of documents (88.6%) explicitly reference Healthy People 2020 goals, with most addressing the LHIs nutrition/obesity/physical activity and access to health services. The most common broad areas from PHAB's reaccreditation framework were preventive health care and individual behavior.

Conclusions:

This study demonstrates the range of partners accredited health departments engage with to collaborate on improving their communities' health as well as the objectives used to measure community health improvement. This illustrates the collaborative nature in which accredited health departments tackle community priorities.

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