Key Community Health Assessment Findings
To prioritize the needs of the community, Memorial Hermann conducts Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs) for each of its hospitals every three years.
The qualitative and quantitative data collected includes a careful review of the most current health data available and input from numerous community focus groups as well as community representatives with special knowledge of public health on prioritizing community health needs and health care initiatives.
Key themes and conclusions include:
- The service areas of the thirteen licensed acute, rehabilitation and surgical facilities are unique in terms of demographics and population health needs but each also has a strong set of assets on which to build. Each has a tremendously diverse population in terms of age, affluence, race, ethnicity, language, and health needs. While Harris County and Houston experience more challenges in terms of population health than their more suburban and rural neighbors in the region, it also has more accessible social and health resources and better public transportation for its residents.
- The increase in population over the past five years has placed a tremendous burden on existing public health, social, and health care infrastructure, a trend that places barriers to pursuing a healthy lifestyle among residents. Infrastructure that does not keep up with demand leads to unmet need and sustains unhealthy habits in the community. Communities without easy access to healthy foods, safe roads, affordable housing, fewer sidewalks, and more violence are at a disadvantage in the pursuit of healthy living.
- Although there is economic opportunity for many residents, there are pockets of poverty and some residents face economic challenges which can affect health. Seniors and members of low-income communities face challenges in accessing care and resources compared to their younger and higher income neighbors. Strategies such as community health workers may increase residents’ ability to navigate an increasingly complex health care and public health system.
- Obesity and concerns related to maintaining a healthy lifestyle emerged as challenges for the region. Barriers ranged from individual challenges of lack of time to cultural issues involving cultural norms to structural challenges such as living in a food dessert or having limited access to sidewalks, recreational facilities, or affordable fruits and vegetables.
- Behavioral health was identified as a key concern among residents. Stakeholders highlighted significant unmet needs for mental health and substance abuse services. Key informants particularly drew attention to the burden of mental illness on the incarcerated population.
- Transportation to health services was identified as a substantial concern, especially for seniors and lower income residents, as access to public transportation may be limited in some areas.
Based on relevance, appropriateness, impact and feasibility the three overarching priorities selected and approved by the Memorial Hermann Health System Board in June 2016 were:
- Health care access, including transportation
- Healthy living, including chronic disease management
- Behavioral health, including substance abuse and mental health
The resulting Strategic Implementation Plans (SIPs) set hospital-specific goals, objectives and strategies that address each facility’s specific service area and populations served. CHNAs and SIPs are available for the following facilities: