How Can Hospitals Improve the Health of their Communities?

The Bloomberg American Health Initiative and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity are working with IBM Watson Health to develop a method to measure the impact of hospitals on community health and equity, for possible inclusion in the Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals Program.

The U.S. has experienced a decline in life expectancy from 2015 to 2017, punctuated by persistent and severe socioeconomic and racial disparities. There is a growing recognition of the role hospitals and health systems can play in reversing these trends by preventing illness, promoting equity and enhancing well-being.

The idea behind this initiative is to add a measure of how hospitals contribute to community health and equity in addition to measures of healthcare quality and patient satisfaction. By adding this measure, hospitals committed to investing in and improving health equity in their communities can be recognized and rewarded. The draft proposal includes four components:

  1. Population-level outcomes: assesses improvement in county-level metrics of community health and equity.
  2. Hospitals as health provider: assesses whether hospitals meet best practice standards for offering preventive services.
  3. Hospital as community partner: assesses whether hospitals meet best practice standards for contributing to community health initiatives.
  4. Hospital as anchor institution: assesses whether hospitals meet best practice standards for employers.

More information can be found on the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

View the draft proposal. Public comments are being accepted on the proposal through September 10, 2020.