Publication date

Workshop: Health workforce meets health services research.

Kuhlmann, E., Jong, J. de. Workshop: Health workforce meets health services research. European Journal of Public Health: 2018, 28(supl. 4) . Abstracts: 11 th European Public Health conference: Winds of change: towards new ways of improving public health in Europe, Ljubljana, Slovenia 28 November –1 December 2018.
Health workforce research and health services research are facing major challenges to respond effectively to the changing health needs of the population. Growing shortage and maldistribution of health human resources and the one hand, and chronic diseases and ageing societies on the other may combine and reinforce the pressures for transforming health services and the skill mix, task distribution and competences of the workforce. However, research into the organisation and management of healthcare and into the health human resources providing this care, for many years, operated from different angles and have been informed by different research traditions and data sources. The two research areas are still poorly connected, thus knowledge exchange to promote integrated care and workforce development is limited.

This workshop brings together research from different national and European research projects positioned at the interface of healthcare services and workforce development. The major aim is to explore the benefits and novel insights gained from the connection of the two research fields, using case studies from different countries and health systems in the European region. Cases include France, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the Russian Federation. More specifically, the proposed workshop provides a snapshot of diverse health professions and patient groups involved in the transformations, spanning across the primary care and hospital sectors.

The research presented in his workshop reveals how capacity for innovating health systems can be improved through connecting health services and workforce research. The studies identified areas of innovation and policy levers for change. Examples of these include organizational planning based on skill mix and case mix connections, task shifting from physicians to other health professions especially nurses and pharmacists, and the relevance of physicians in management. Health professions may also serve as a source of in-depth information to identify hidden effects of austere politics on healthcare services, and finally, connecting research from different resources is an important condition for strengthening evidence and its translation into policy.

Aligning health workforce and services research embodies new opportunity for innovating health systems and developing people-centred care provision. An integrated approach may improve knowledge transfer and strengthen the importance of research evidence in health policymaking.

Key messages
Connecting health workforce and services research reveals capacity for innovation.
Effective responses to population needs call for organisational and professional transformations.