Project
Start
January 2021

Route-HWF: a Roadmap OUT of mEdical deserts into supportive Health Workforce initiatives and policies

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.
ROUTE-HWF aims to help EU Member States to improve timely access to high-quality healthcare across all EU regions, thus reducing 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.

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.
Funding
CHAFEA (European Commission)