Virtual CHNA Uncovers Health Disparities Throughout a Hospital Community

San Juan Regional Medical Center Partners with Stratasan to ID Pressing Health Needs

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Visitors to the San Juan Regional Medical Center’s 2017 A Fair of the Heart in Farmington learn about weight differences between fat and muscle. The event is just one of the initiatives the hospital has mounted to address the issues identified in its Community Health Needs Assessment. Photo by San Juan Regional Medical Center

Every three years, officials at the San Juan Regional Medical Center take part in a months-long process called a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). It’s designed to identify the community’s greatest health needs before they develop an action plan to address them. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital officials altered their approach this year, switching to virtual sessions or telephone interactions to gather and share information.

Hospital officials used input from community members, physicians, community surveys and a community summit to compile the list, along with public health data, and demographic and psychographic materials. Stratasan lead the CHNA process, performing much of the work with help from approximately 20 hospital staff members. Nearly 140 people participated in the survey or summit.

“We really looked at the patient population we’ve had impacted by COVID-19, and it pointed out to us more starkly than anything else we’ve ever seen before the health disparities in our community,” shared Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bourgeois.

The results of the CHNA identified diabetes, mental health, substance abuse, obesity, and access to care as the most significant areas of need. Bourgeois pointed out there was a lot of overlap between this assessment and the last one that was done three years ago, most notably obesity, diabetes, and access to care.

“That’s not unlike many communities where the community health needs overlap over time,” he said. “We really take this as a call to action to address these needs for improvement.”

Stratasan was energized by the experience of working with the San Juan team and encouraged to see that the CHNA process truly can be executed virtually. “Given today’s health concerns, it’s critical that we’re nimble and willing to shift to virtual engagements whenever possible,” says Lee Ann Lambdin, Stratasan SVP of Strategic Advisory Services. “It was inspiring to see the team at San Juan band together to execute their CHNA, fully embracing the new virtual experience. The results were as insightful and impactful as anything we’ve done in the past, during our normal face-to-face process.”

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