The Health Research & Education Trust of the American Hospital Association has published this guide on how hospitals can support community health improvement. The guide was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is promoting the concept of a “culture of health”, creating a society that gives all individuals an equal opportunity to live the healthiest life they can, whatever their ethnic, geographic, racial, socioeconomic or physical circumstances may be. The guide is based on a review of 300 community health needs assessments, and provides strategic considerations for hospital engagement in community health improvement. Hospitals can be promoters, conveners, anchors, and specialists in community health improvement. The guide also suggests measures that can be used to evaluate such efforts:
- Social cohesion and shared value of health: measure perceived norms and social capital; evaluate community engagement or measuring actions that signify participation in promoting health in the community, such as providing volunteer care or participating in a charity sporting event
- Multisectoral collaboration to build health partnerships: measure strength, nature and quality of collaborations along with number of innovative partnerships
- Improved and equitable opportunity for healthy choices and environments: measure social and environmental factors and availability of resources; consider equity across the population
- Improved quality, efficiency and equity of health and health care systems: measure health outcomes, health care system quality and equity across demographics
Finally, the guide has ten case studies about hospitals that have successfully implemented some of the strategies described in the guide.