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Step 5: Prioritize Community Health Issues

Purpose

Hospitals and community stakeholders go through a process to distinguish the most pressing community health needs based on the data collected. The identified priority health needs will be addressed through the implementation strategies.

Key Components

Identify criteria for prioritization
Hospitals are at their discretion to develop prioritization criteria and processes. A set of criteria should be determined to guide the prioritization process. Typically, three to six priorities are selected, based on:

Additional prioritization criteria can include:

Select community health priorities
Priorities can be selected as part of an established process informed by contributing partners, including community stakeholders, health departments, social service agencies, policy makers and hospital leadership. Action steps to be considered are:

TechniquesDescription
Multi-voting technique Decide on priorities by agreeing or disagreeing in group discussions and continuing process/rounds until a final list is developed.
Strategy lists Determine if the health needs are of “high or low importance” by placing an emphasis on problems whose solutions have maximum impact, with the possibility of limited resources.
Nominal group technique Rate health problems from 1 to 10 through group discussion.
Hanlon method List those health needs viewed as priorities based on baseline data, numeric values and feasibility factors.
Prioritization matrix Weigh and rank multiple criteria for prioritization with numeric values to determine health needs with high importance.

Describe which needs were not prioritized
It may not be possible to address all community health needs at once. If there are significant needs that are not prioritized or will not be addressed, you should be able to describe what the needs are and why you have chosen not to address them.