4 Innovative Community Health Improvement Plans from Around the US

When created effectively, Community Health Improvement Plans (CHIPs) and Community Health Assessments (CHAs) are useful tools to guide collective health improvement efforts. CHIPs that are created in document form, however, can present several challenges:

  • More difficult to locate key information
  • Difficult to frequently update
  • Less likely to be read all the way through
  • Are not up-to-date

Creating your CHIP or CHA in an electronic format, or creating an “e-CHIP”, utilizing a performance management software, can alleviate these problems and increase the likelihood that your CHIP is utilized by partners to inform decision-making.

Because an e-CHIP is easier to update and disseminate, partners, stakeholders, and the community will have instant access to important changes on the status of indicators, performance measures, and strategy implementation.

Here are 4 examples of innovative e-CHIPs from around the United States:

Buncombe County, NC, Community Health Improvement Scorecard:

Buncombe County has shared their “Community Health Improvement Scorecard” online publicly. It’s an easy way to learn about their current health priorities and what their community leaders, partners, and residents are working on together to improve the health of their community.

Buncombe County’s e-CHIP is one of the most thorough and effective examples of an e-CHIP we’ve seen. It demonstrates a high level of accountability for improving indicators of well-being by:

  • Providing thorough context – The CHIP includes critical information to provide a better understanding of data and action-plans
  • Demonstrating continuous improvement – CHIP data is up-to-date and the plan communicates that the CHIP is a “living document”
  • Integrating interactive media – Embeds a tutorial on how to navigate the CHIP

Explore the Buncombe County e-CHIP: https://embed.resultsscorecard.com/Scorecard/Embed/17803

Swain County, NC, State of the County’s Health Report Card:

Swain County strives to enhance the lives of its citizens through knowledge and better health. Through the Swain County Health Department Community Health Assessment process, health priorities have been established by the community. The State of the County’s Health Scorecard was created and submitted in order to meet the requirements for the Swain County annual State of the County’s Health (SOTCH) Report.

The SOTCH report is a great example of an electronic Community Health Assessment designed to simultaneously meet reporting requirements and keep the public informed.

What sets the Swain County SOTCH apart is its “New and Emerging Issues” section which gives a brief overview of emerging health issues as well as new strategies or changes being implemented.

Explore the Swain County SOTCH: https://embed.resultsscorecard.com/Scorecard/Embed/27655

Vermont State Health Improvement Plan:

The Vermont State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) is a five-year plan that prioritizes broad Healthy Vermonters 2020 goals: reducing the prevalence of chronic disease, reducing the prevalence of substance abuse and mental illness, and improving childhood immunizations. It includes strategies and planned interventions.

What sets the Vermont SHIP apart is its:

  • Brevity – Brevity is an important part of public communication. Vermont focuses on tracking 3 focus areas: reducing the prevalence of chronic disease, reducing substance abuse, and improving childhood immunization rates.
  • Website Integration – Vermont’s SHIP very well integrated into its website. The navigation bar on the lefthand side of the page allows users to easily navigate between the SHIP and other relevant website pages and information.

Explore the Vermont SHIP: http://www.healthvermont.gov/about/performance/state-health-improvement-plan-2013-2017

New Mexico Department of Health Strategic Plan Progress Report:

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Results Scorecard shows the progress they made toward a Healthier New Mexico during the fiscal year 2018 (FY18), quarter 3 (Q3). You can use this Scorecard to learn about the actions they are taking to carry out our Strategic Plan. The Scorecard shows what we are doing and how well they are doing it.

  • Color-coded targets: Targets can be useful tools if used correctly. One of the most effective ways to use targets is to set ranges outlining what is acceptable vs. what is unacceptable. This is more useful than setting an arbitrary target and determining a program a failure if the target isn’t met. NMDOH uses color-coded ranges to define targets.
  • Completeness: NMDOH Demonstrates a high level of accountability for improving measures. Notes are filled out for every single indicator and performance measure. Notes outline the story behind the data, partners, strategies, and action plans.

Explore the NMDOH Strategic Plan Progress Report (click on the “-” and “+” for a more detailed look):


Following these innovative examples, you can create a more useful and effective CHIP that clearly communicates your strategies to the public.

You can keep track of your community-level and performance-level strategies using a performance management software like Clear Impact Scorecard. Using an online dashboard will allow you to make real-time updates and share data more easily to ensure everyone stays on track and is communicating effectively.

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About the Author:

Hi I'm Kayleigh Weaver, the Communications Manager at Clear Impact. I dabble in website design, blogging, social media, event planning, marketing, copyediting, newsletter distribution, and more. Send me your story ideas at kayleigh@clearimpact.com.

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