Background: Nationally, little is known about the characteristics of community health assessment (CHA) that contribute to the use of CHA findings in public health program and policy decisions.
Methods: To begin identifying these characteristics, the Washington State Department of Health partnered with local health jurisdictions to establish an on-line system for reporting the impacts of CHA projects (eg, use of a CHA to identify health priorities, create an action plan, form a partnership, or develop or modify a health strategy, program, or service). A qualitative review was conducted of 90 reports of CHA impacts submitted by local health jurisdictions.
Findings: Common characteristics of CHAs with reported impacts include (1) a focus on a specific subpopulation or health topic; (2) involvement of community and public health agency stakeholders in planning and conducting the CHA; (3) use of multiple data collection methods, sources of data, and approaches to dissemination; and (4) primary data collection at the local level.
Conclusions: Although the Washington State CHA Impact Tracking System is an important first step toward understanding characteristics of CHA connected to the use of the results, additional studies are needed to identify evidence-based practices in this field.