Jan 23, 2010

New Frontiers in Health Workforce Research: Rethinking the Data Infrastructure

This report seeks to identify the data and research methods needed to promote more effective public and private decision making related to education, distribution and use of the health workforce to support access to quality care.

The current health care reform discussions have raised awareness that having an adequate supply of well prepared health workers distributed in a manner that is consistent with population needs is an essential component of an effective health care system.
Key Findings:
  • A lack of up-to-date, core data on a range of various health professions impedes analysis of the supply, demand, and distribution of the health care workforce across health professions and settings.
  • Improved quality and comparability of data requires standardized collection methods and identifiers among the many public and private organizations that already collect data.
  • There is no surveillance system that provides regular and frequent data (e.g., every 6-12 months) on shortages and surpluses by region that could provide early warnings of changes in the marketplace.
  • There are important gaps in evidence around how payment systems affect workforce configurations, demand for providers, and the impact of workforce patterns on access, cost, and quality of care.

Author Information: David Auerbach, Peter Buerhaus, Tim Dall, Mark Doescher, Erin Fraher, Jean Moore, Perri Morgan, Davis Patterson, Patricia Pittman, Edward Salsberg, Sue Skillman, and Joanne Spetz

Accompanying Figures: 
  1. Figure-Factors to consider when assessing health workforce supply
  2. Figure-Factor to consider when assessing health workforce demand