Project
Start
March 2021

Route-HWF: a roadmap out of medical deserts into supportive Health WorkForce initiatives and policies

Duration: Jan 2021 - Mar 2024

Background
Despite existing research on health workforce planning and health disparities, the concept of 'medical deserts' is ambiguous and lacks specificity. Although EU countries and regions have developed policy responses and approaches to address medical deserts, there is insufficient evidence on what policy interventions are most effective at reducing medical deserts.

Aim
Route-HWF aims to help EU Member States to improve timely access to high-quality healthcare across all EU regions. It conducts research to help EU Member States to design and implement their own health workforce policies related to medical deserts. In doing so it aims to reduce disparities in population health.

Objectives
The project’s specific objectives are:
- to provide a definition and taxonomy of the concept of medical deserts
- to develop guidelines on how EU Member States can monitor and measure medical deserts at national and subnational levels
- to analyse the factors that drive medical “desertification” and assess health workforce policy responses and approaches to medical deserts
- to provide an optimal mix of policy responses and approaches to medical deserts depending on the type of medical desert
- to develop a roadmap to help EU Member States in designing and implementing their own health workforce policies that address medical deserts

Results
The deliverables and products of the projects will include reports, (web)publications, articles, fastheets and webtools, containing:
- the results of the literature review and database search of available material on definitions, characteristics, mapping and influencing factors of medical deserts along with approaches to mitigate or eliminate them
- the results of the survey across 33 European countries on characteristics, measurement and influencing factors of medical deserts along with policy responses
- the results of the five national stakeholder workshops to discuss and evaluate the taxonomy and guidelines to measure and monitor medical deserts, feeding into the roadmap
- the results of the six in-depth case studies to further assess the applicability and usability of the taxonomy and guidelines and refine the roadmap
- the results of the a final European expert workshop to discuss the optimal mix of policy responses and approaches to medical deserts

Project websitie url: www.route-hwf.eu
Funding
European Commission - CHAFEA
Project partners
The Route-HWF Consortium consists of: University of Vaasa, Finland; Nivel, Netherlands; Avedis Donabedian Research Institute - Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain; Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakau, Poland; University of Zagreb Medical School, Croatia