Hospital launches study to assess community health needs, priorities

Local residents will soon be hearing from a research firm seeking input for a comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessment for Hill Country Memorial.

The hospital, in collaboration with other local health professionals and stakeholders, is working on a “road map to health” for the people of Gillespie County.

The study will identify public health needs, goals, objectives and priorities, according to Debby Wallace Dooley, HCM Chief Strategy Officer.

“The survey will be looking at what the concerns are as seen through the eyes of the residents of Gillespie County,” Dooley said. “It is part of Hill Country Memorial’s stated vision: Empower Others. Create Healthy. Guided by the results, we can have a more complete understanding of the health needs of this community which will help us focus our resources on how to improve health.”

A Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) is a systematic collection, assembly, analysis and dissemination of information about the health of the community. Its role is to identify factors that affect the health of a population and determine the availability of resources with the community to adequately address those factors.

Hill Country Memorial’s CHNA will use both existing and new data to assess local health needs and recommend possible improvement methods. Some data has already been collected through previous local, state, and federal public health organizations.

To ensure confidentiality and anonymity of the participants, HCM is partnering with Stratasan to collect, quantify and interpret the data.

The community telephone survey will seek input from numerous local residents during this process. Local residents will be asked what they think about various aspects of their local healthcare delivery system and what changes they would like to see.

Additionally, a community focus group will be conducted to receive more detailed community input. That insight, along with the data, will be used to set priorities for local public health.

The assessment is expected to be finalized by the end of September. The results will be shared with the board of trustees and administration of Hill Country Memorial to help them develop and refine the hospital’s programs and services to ensure they target the community’s healthcare needs.

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