This survey may be good for your health

Responses will help create road map to improved care

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Officials are seeking input from residents regarding health needs and concerns in Wilson County.

The Healthcare Foundation of Wilson, the Wilson County Health Department and Wilson Medical Center recently launched a community health needs assessment — a survey where data is collected and will be used to create a road map to better health here.

Residents can fill out the survey, which is available online in English and Spanish, through June 30.

“We seek input from the residents of Wilson County every three years so we can stay in touch with the broader community perspectives and address the evolving needs related to health and wellness,” said Denise O’Hara, executive director of Healthcare Foundation of Wilson.

The online survey takes only 10 to 15 minutes to complete, and all responses are confidential. The survey doesn’t require respondents to identify themselves by name.

The health information collected will give officials a comprehensive community overview. The survey aims to identify factors that negatively affect residents’ health.

The process also helps leaders identify significant health needs, priorities, goals and objectives.

“Our hope is that our findings will provide a rich foundation for improving and promoting the health and well-being of residents of the greater Wilson community,” O’Hara said.

Community health needs assessments aren’t new. Officials usually conduct them every three years. While one was completed two years ago, this time is different. Wilson is participating in a collaborative assessment that includes 33 eastern North Carolina counties. And because of that united effort, officials say they will have a more comprehensive set of Wilson health care data.

That data can then be compared to “apples to apples with other eastern North Carolina counties.”

After each assessment, officials put into place action plans to improve health care offerings based on residents’ needs.

As a part of the process, health and wellness in Wilson County will also be evaluated. Those efforts include access to health education, immunizations, hospitals, physicians, screenings and public health. Stakeholders will also use data from local, state and federal public health organizations to ensure confidentiality and impartiality, officials said.

“By working collaboratively, Healthcare Foundation of Wilson, Wilson County Health Department and Wilson Medical Center will gather valuable insight that allows us to set priorities for improving health,” said Bill Caldwell, CEO of Wilson Medical Center.

The assessment is set to be finalized by Dec. 31. A final report of the results will be issued and will incorporate discussions from focus groups, and a health care summit will be held, all of which will shared with the Wilson community. A website will also be available that will show Wilson County’s health statistics, making the information easily accessible to the public.

“Guided by the results of this important community assessment and the progress we’ve made since the last community health needs assessment, we will soon have a more comprehensive understanding of the health needs of our community,” said Wilson County Health Director Teresa Ellen. “The results of the community health needs assessment are intended as the continuation of an action plan to help us truly improve the lives of the people in our community.”

The survey is available online at the following web addresses:

• English version: www.surveymonkey.com/r/healthenc

• Spanish version: es.surveymonkey.com/r/saludestedecarolinadelnorte

For a paper copy of the survey to fill out, residents can call the Wilson County Health Department at 252-237-3141 or the Healthcare Foundation of Wilson at 252-281-2105.