Start with the End in Mind–What Tools Do You Need?
If you want to accomplish something and propel your organization forward, you have to envision it. Granted, this isn’t news to anyone reading this blog. After all, most people interested in healthcare consulting services know what they need, right?
But let’s review the basics because repetition is the mother of mastery. First, we acknowledge we need data. Next, we need to build a team. Now, it’s time to talk about what the team needs to choose.
The “end” in this case is a tool, instrument or roadmap that leads your healthcare organization to make decisions based on facts. Evidence-based strategic planning is important, but you have to design your assessment process in such a way that you achieve your goal.
Let’s take a practical example: buying a car. How do we choose a vehicle out of thousands of options? Well, we have a few criteria:
• Capacity (seats for just you or you and all of the neighborhood 12-year-olds?)
• Fuel economy (can you actually afford to run this thing?)
• Features (how much whiz-bang stuff do you need vs. want?)
• Cost (oh, can we afford this?)
• Status (what does this minivan “say” about me? What do I want people to think?)
If you think this is a silly example, keep reading.
Your community health needs assessment (CHNA) must fit your needs. Are you a hospital needing to satisfy the IRS 990 Schedule H requirement to conduct a CHNA? Are you a non-profit? As a healthcare organization, what types of decisions do you want a CHNA to guide you through? Is it a “one time” document or will it be structured for updates and revisions?How many questions will you ask/answer and what types of information will it cover? Will it be quantitative or qualitative? Will it be used by a limited number of people and organizations or will you actively encourage others in your community to mine its riches? Do you want to use secondary data to save money or do you want a more comprehensive primary data project?
These are the questions that will help you clarify your needs for a final product. And once you decide, it’s time to make it happen. The good news: now the end is in sight!
If you are interested in discussing how a Community Health Needs Assessment and related planning activities can help your organization make a greater impact, please contact Mary Coyne at (806) 670-7440 or Mary@AscentHealthConsulting.com