As I mentioned here last week, hospitals are joining with physicians, post-acute providers and others to strengthen the continuum of care and enhance the value of health care in their markets.

Now we're in the midst of Community Health Improvement Week, established by the Association for Community Health Improvement, a personal membership group of the American Hospital Association.

According to ACHI, community health "refers to the health status of a defined group of people, or community, and the actions and conditions that protect and improve the health of the community."

Generally, these include:

  • Health promotion — educational, social and environmental support for groups or individuals to make changes in behavior.
  • Health protection — the health and safety of the environment, including: avoiding unintentional injuries; ensuring air, water and food safety; and ensuring the availability of healthy foods.
  • Health services — Care provision with an emphasis on preventive and primary medical care, public health services and the care and management of chronic diseases.

Community Health Improvement Week has three main goals:

  • Raise awareness and increase understanding of the importance of community health improvement strategies as complementary to, but distinct from individual medical care.
  • Demonstrate the value and impact of an organization's community health initiatives, both within the organization and to community stakeholders.
  • Celebrate community health providers in all settings, including hospitals, community health centers, public health agencies and healthy communities coalitions.

Learn more about how you and your organization can participate in Community Health Improvement Week