Northwest Arkansas healthcare groups launch online survey seeking region’s health needs

KeepHealthCare.ORG – Northwest Arkansas healthcare groups launch online survey seeking region’s health needs

A group of 13 healthcare organizations in four Northwest Arkansas counties have developed an online survey to determine the greatest health-related needs throughout the region.

The Northwest Arkansas Community Health Survey is an anonymous 25-question survey that requires no registration and takes about 10 minutes to complete. The online survey has been available since May, and survey responses will be collected through mid-September. The last time a four-county survey of this scope was completed was in 2004, according to healthcare organization Mercy, one of the organizations in the group.

Organizations from Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties worked together to develop the survey. It was completed over the past four months after 10 revisions and several pilots in English and Spanish, said Dr. Lisa Low, medical director of community health for Mercy.

Survey questions regard personal health needs and community needs, and the organizations are looking for responses from people of various socioeconomic backgrounds. The survey can be completed in English or Spanish, and paper copies of the survey are available at county health units and area clinics. A Marshallese version of the survey is in the works.

“We encourage all members of the community to complete the survey,” but we will also make an effort to reach people in our most underserved and vulnerable populations,” Low said. “The goal [of the survey] is to identify priority needs of the community in order to direct community health programming, grant requests and service delivery.”

After the survey ends, the data will be compiled and made available for use by all the organizations that worked to develop the survey. A report on the data also will be released to the public.

Ben Cashion, director of content and training for Hark at the Center for Collaborative Care, said the Springdale-based nonprofit is the digital host for the online survey and is gathering the raw data and sending it out to organizations working on the survey. They are making sure that the data coming in is diverse, and it has been, Cashion said. So far, 265 people have responded to the survey, and he would hope to see between 750 and 1,000 diverse responses.

The organizations are working to promote the survey at events, such as a free health clinic, said Cashion, adding that Hark has six iPads to allow people to complete the survey at such events. People also can complete the survey on their smartphone. Cashion was proud of the way the organizations worked together on the survey and that narrowing down the number of questions was difficult.

“It was truly a collaborative effort to build the survey,” he said.

Unlike the 2004 survey, which was funded by CommunityCare Foundation, this one is being funded by in-kind donations from the participating organizations.

A timeline for the next survey has yet to be set, but a survey of this scope could be completed every two to four years, Cashion said.

Following are the organizations that collaborated on the survey: Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese, Arkansas Department of Health, Benton County Health Unit, Carroll County Health Unit, Community Clinic Northwest Arkansas, Hark at the Center for Collaborative Care, Madison County Health Coalition, Madison County Health Unit, Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas, Ozark Guidance Center, Washington County Health Unit, Washington Regional Medical Center and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest Arkansas.

The 2004 survey had 1,437 responses, including 400 in Benton County, 118 in Carroll County, 170 in Madison County, 734 in Washington County and 15 who didn’t list a county. The goal of the 2004 survey was to improve the health and wellbeing for Northwest Arkansas residents, and in a summary of findings, survey results showed that residents were concerned about healthcare costs, accessibility of healthcare services, identification of problematic physical and mental health issues and barriers that multicultural populations face to receive healthcare services.




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