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Health Human Resources Planning and the Production of Health: Development of an Extended Analytical Framework for NeedsBased Health Human Resources Planning

Birch, Stephen DPhil; Kephart, George PhD; Murphy, Gail Tomblin PhD; O'Brien-Pallas, Linda PhD; Alder, Rob PhD; MacKenzie, Adrian BSc, GDipEd

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice:
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181b1ec0e
Article
Abstract

Health human resources planning is generally based on estimating the effects of demographic change on the supply of and requirements for healthcare services. In this article, we develop and apply an extended analytical framework that incorporates explicitly population health needs, levels of service to respond to health needs, and provider productivity as additional variables in determining the future requirements for the levels and mix of healthcare providers. Because the model derives requirements for providers directly from the requirements for services, it can be applied to a wide range of different provider types and practice structures including the public health workforce. By identifying the separate determinants of provider requirements, the analytical framework avoids the “illusions of necessity” that have generated continuous increases in provider requirements. Moreover, the framework enables policy makers to evaluate the basis of, and justification for, increases in the numbers of provider and increases in education and training programs as a method of increasing supply. A broad range of policy instruments is identified for responding to gaps between estimated future requirements for care and the estimated future capacity of the healthcare workforce.

In Brief

This article focuses on development and application of an extended analytical framework that incorporates explicitly population health needs, levels of service to respond to health needs, and provider productivity as additional variables in determining the future requirements for the levels and mix of healthcare providers.

Author Information

Professor, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. (Birch)

Associate Professor, Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. (Kephart)

Professor, School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. (Murphy)

Professor, Nursing Health Services Research Unit, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (O'Brien-Pallas)

Associate Professor, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Kresge Building, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. (Alder)

Analyst, WHO Collaborating Centre on Workforce Planning and Research, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. (MacKenzie)

Corresponding Author: Stephen Birch, DPhil, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, McMaster University, 1200 Main St W, Hamilton, ON L9C 2C1, Canada (birch@mcmaster.ca).

The research on which this manuscript is based was funded by the Atlantic Health Human Resources Association.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.