Every three years Guilford County health, social and educational and other community organizations collaborate to conduct an assessment of the health of county residents. This effort collects and assesses data on county health needs and strengths. These data inform the identification of priority health issues and subsequent action plan development to address these priorities.
Assessing community health involved collection and analysis of a wide range of health and health-related measures, including data on morbidity and mortality, health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and environmental factors. In addition to the assessment of secondary quantitative health data, a community health survey was conducted to collect data on community health status, health behaviors, access to health care and neighborhood needs.
To gauge public opinion regarding the priority health issues facing Guilford County, public assessment meetings took place in Greensboro and High Point during April and May. Facilitators at these meetings shared recent county data based on the indicators in the population health model. Attendees shared their views about health issues and health needs in their communities. Data were collected from meeting participants on the priority health issues facing the county. In addition to community meetings, community input was obtained through an online webinar in which community data were presented and webinar participants identified priority health issues through an online survey.
Community Ranking of Health Issues
The Assessment Team representing assessment partners convened to prioritize data using the Hanlon prioritization method, which objectively takes into consideration explicitly defined criteria including the magnitude of the problem, the severity or seriousness of the problem, and effectiveness of potential interventions. Based on the priority scores calculated, ranks are assigned to health problems. The Assessment Team reviewed the priority health issues identified by the survey participants and those attending the community meetings and webinar and then assigned Hanlon priority scores.
The priority health issues identified were:
- Healthy Eating/Active Living: Chronic diseases, especially cancer and heart disease, are the leading causes of mortality and drivers of health care costs in Guilford County. About two-thirds of all deaths in Guilford County are due to chronic diseases. Modifiable risk factors for chronic disease include obesity, physical inactivity, diet and nutrition, and tobacco use. Promoting healthy eating and active living can improve rates of morbidity and mortality.
- Social Determinants of Health: Social conditions, such as income, employment and crime, have a significant impact on the health of individuals, families and communities. Assessment data showed very strong relationships between educational attainment and income with life expectancy, chronic disease mortality and other health conditions. Differences in the social determinants of health result in large racial and geographic disparities in health outcomes.
- Behavioral Health: About a quarter of community health survey participants reported that they have issues with depression and anxiety, with many reporting a significant number of mental health days. Mental health providers are not as plentiful in Guilford as in some peer counties.
- Maternal and Child Health: Poor birth outcomes are a significant problem for Guilford County, with rates of infant mortality and low birth weight considerably higher than national benchmarks and objectives. African-Americans experience preterm birth, low and very low birth weight and infant mortality at substantially higher rates than whites. Low birth weight and preterm births as well as teen pregnancies occur at higher rates in areas of the county characterized by higher rates of poverty and unemployment, and low educational attainment.
Access to Care is an issue that is interwoven throughout these priorities and will be addressed in the action plans.
Paper copies of the full CHNA are available, at no charge, upon request by contacting the High Point Medical Center Contact Center at 336-878-6888.