To determine the health needs of the community, data were collected from various county, state and national sources; local hospital information, data about homelessness. Additionally, we conducted research using face-to-face interviews, focus groups, and surveyed residents, both online and in person.
Our assessment partners helped determine a list of key stakeholders to participate in interviews and focus groups. Special attention was given to recruiting those who serve the uninsured, chronically ill and minority populations. Lancaster Market Research Group conducted the focus groups, compiled the responses and did the data analysis.
With consultation from the Knox County Health Department, Department of Assessment and Planning, a survey instrument was developed for use in the Covenant Health hospital assessments. This survey asked residents about the health and quality of life in their community/county. There were questions about what creates health and what are the most important health issues and contributing factors. Survey sampling was matched with the counties population for the attributes of age, education, income and ethnicity. Surveys were available at the United Way agencies, the Roane County Health Department, Roane Medical Center, Roane State Community College, Chamber of Commerce members, local health fairs, and online using Survey Monkey.
Hundreds of health indicators were reviewed from the Tennessee Department of Public Health, County Health Rankings from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, Tennessee Kids Count, as well as data from the US Census, hospital discharge data, and local homelessness data.
Notebooks containing all the health indicator data, focus group and community survey information were compiled.
A Data Synthesis Team comprising 10-12 members was formed. The team included representatives from Roane Medical Center, the health department, United Way, school system, a local senior program, Anti Drug Coalition, Chamber of Commerce, health council, and faith community. Team members were each given a data notebook and then met several times to discuss the health issues. The team began to list, categorize, and prioritize the assessment findings. Using a Setting Priorities Tool developed by the Public Health Foundation, the team was able to further reduce its list of issues by rating each health issue’s strategic importance relative to its ability to implement an effective intervention.
The health issues that were selected from the Setting Priorities Tool were then voted on to determine the most significant issues.
Data gaps identified by the Team included county specific information of the incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome and mental health data. In both cases state and regional data were available, but it was difficult to determine the data implications at the county level. Additionally, homelessness data is limited to one episodic event each year.