Keywords: community health needs assessment, health priorities, pediatric care, patient-centered outcomes research
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the utility of Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) for informing future pediatric, patient-centered outcomes research. We have analyzed 61 CHNA documents, published before July 1, 2016 by non-profit hospitals, focusing on four metropolitan areas in the State of Florida: Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville. Out of 18 identified health priorities, access to care and obesity were universally recognized as the most urgent pediatric health needs across all hospital types and metropolitan regions. Our analysis also yielded insights into key regional differences. Currently, CHNA reports lack a standard structure, making it hard to derive meaningful information. However, they have the potential to be a useful tool for informing pediatric outcomes research and guiding resource allocation. Thus, implementing a standardized format for these documents would greatly improve the interpretability and utility of these data. We are advocating that a major change in the CHNA format be implemented using a common set of domains to produce meaningful, interpretable and comparable results that inform patient-centered health outcomes research.