Measuring Hospital Contributions to Community Health with a Focus on Equity
February 2, 2021
Caroline Plott, MS
Healthcare systems have room to grow in the way in which they support community health, prevent illness, and promote equity. In Summer 2020, the Bloomberg American Health Initiative and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity partnered with IBM/Watson Health to develop a method to measure the impact of hospitals on community health with a focus on equity, for potential inclusion in the Fortune/IBM Watson Health Top 100 Hospitals Program.
In August 2020, a draft measure was proposed for public comment. More than 100 people and organizations submitted more than 600 comments. These led to many changes in the proposal, including the addition of six new best practice standards. The proposed measure was finalized and sent to IBM/Watson in February 2021.
What is in the measure? The measure includes four components to measure a hospital’s impact on community health:
- Component 1: Population-level outcomes. This component assesses improvement in county-level metrics of community health and equity.
- Component 2: Hospital as healthcare provider. This component assesses whether hospitals meet best practice standards for offering preventive services. Examples include offering tobacco cessation services, violence intervention, and addiction treatment on site.
- Component 3: Hospital as community partner. This component assesses whether hospitals meet best practice standards for contributing to community health initiatives. Examples include supporting community health workers, home visiting, and healthy housing programs.
- Component 4: Hospital as anchor institution. This component assesses whether hospitals meet best practice standards for employers. Examples include plans to diversify boards and management, paying a living wage, and offering childcare to all employees.
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