Essential Elements for Step 3: Conduct an Assessment
A needs assessment is a way for health workers in the clinic and community to identify various health issues. Once these health issues are identified, the diabetes team can work together to prioritize and address the community’s concerns. A needs assessment will help to strengthen the foundation of your diabetes program. An assessment is a bit like reviewing maps and guidebooks before deciding where to go and what to do on vacation.
What is a needs assessment and how does it affect your program's activities?
- A way of identifying health issues, prioritizing and solving them, and can strengthen your program.
- A process that helps to make sure your program is addressing the current needs.
- Ways to identify and select activities that will help meet your program’s goals and objectives.
How can I determine the health needs in my community?
You can determine some of the health needs in your community by reviewing your latest IHS Diabetes Care and Outcomes Audit data. Available online at:
Example: You can use your IHS Diabetes Care and Outcomes Audit data to find out how many people have diabetes, what their ages are, what kind of treatment they are receiving, how many have received foot exams, eye exams, and laboratory tests. Using the audit data is a good way to identify strengths and weakness of your clinical diabetes program.
Collecting the opinions of key clinic and community members through focus groups, surveys or targeted interviews can help determine specifically what activities your diabetes program needs to address. If you conduct a survey you may want to find out what these people think the focus of the diabetes program should be. Once you know this you can make decisions about priorities and everyone will better understand and embrace the diabetes program.
Example: It may be that key people think efforts should be directed at preventing diabetes among youth.
What are some examples of possible data sources to examine?
- Information from prior needs assessments
- Meeting notes i.e., Tribal Leaders meetings
- The Diabetes Outcomes and Audit Data
- School records
- Dental records