Community Health Needs Assessment

A community health needs assessment is a collaborative analysis of the population, resources, services, health care statuses, health care outcomes, and other data in a defined community or service area that helps identify potential health issues for improvement. Certain federal and state funders require periodic community health needs assessments, including federal grants for primary care offices and maternal and child health programs.

There are 6 basic steps involved in a community health needs assessment:


Who, What, How?

View a detailed infographic that breaks down the components of a community health needs assessment, who is involved in them, and how they are conducted.

Community Engagement

In order for a community health needs assessment to be successful, it is important that the collaborators on the assessment team are actively involved in each step of the process. This is commonly referred to as community engagement.

Data Collection and Analysis

Step 4 of the community health needs assessment is to collect and analyse data. The assessment team chooses an appropriate data collection method or elects to use existing data, which will be used to inform the decision making process. Reviewing existing data (ie, population demographics, health indicators) is often a good starting point, but additional data (ie, surveys of providers, community focus groups) may be needed to gain more information.

Prioritizing Community Needs

Step 5 of the community health needs assessment is to prioritize the needs of the community. Once certain health issues have been identified, the assessment team needs to determine which issues should become the priorities to be addressed.

Implement Health Care Interventions

The final step in the assessment is to implement the appropriate health care interventions that address the prioritized community needs.

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