Affordable Access

Publisher Website

Concept Analysis and Proposed Definition of Community Health Center

  • Nagel, Daniel A.1
  • Keeping-Burke, Lisa2
  • Shamputa, Isdore Chola2
  • 1 University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
  • 2 University of New Brunswick Saint John, Saint John, NB, Canada
Published Article
Journal of Primary Care & Community Health
SAGE Publications
Publication Date
Sep 20, 2021
DOI: 10.1177/21501327211046436
PMID: 34541950
PMCID: PMC8460964
PubMed Central
  • Reviews


Background: Community health centers (CHCs) have been used for delivery of health services since the 1920s and originally were intended to provide care to underserved populations. CHCs have become an integral part of healthcare systems in many countries; however, the term CHC is used synonymously with other concepts and there is no clear definition for CHC. The purpose of our concept analysis was to determine how CHCs are described in the literature and to develop a concept definition for CHC. Methods: Informed by the 8-step process described by Walker and Avant, we searched for literature spanning disciplines within health, business, and policy. We used a systematic review process to identify a range of peer-reviewed articles that help illustrate the attributes, antecedents, and consequences of CHCs. A total of 102 articles from 7 databases were included in our concept analysis. Results: We distinguished 6 attributes of a CHC: primary care; accessibility; preventative care; defined population; health promotion; and comprehensive and integrated care. About 4 antecedents fundamental to a CHC included: secure funding; vision and support; adequate human resources; and governance structure. Consequences of CHCs are improved health outcomes, efficiency, and cost-effective provision of healthcare services. Conclusions: Our concept analysis revealed core characteristics of CHCs that assisted us in synthesizing a concept definition for CHC. These characteristics and our proposed definition will help provide clarity on the concept of CHC to benefit evaluation, research, and policy development of CHCs.

Report this publication


Seen <100 times