Springer Search: "human resources for health"
Trend and projection of skilled birth attendants and institutional delivery coverage for adolescents in 54 low- and middle-income countries, 2000–2030
Limitations to accessing delivery care services increase the risks of adverse outcomes during pregnancy and delivery for all pregnant women, particularly among adolescents in LMICs. In order to inform adolescent-specific delivery care initiatives and coverage, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of trends, projections and inequalities in coverage of delivery care services among adolescents at national, urban-rural and socio-economic levels in LMICs.Methods
Using 224 nationally representative cross-sectional survey data between 2000 and 2019, we estimated the coverage of institutional delivery (INSD) and skilled birth attendants (SBA). Bayesian hierarchical regression models were used to estimate trends, projections and determinants of INSD and SBA.Results
Coverage of delivery care services among adolescents increased substantially at the national level, as well as in both urban and rural areas in most countries between 2000 and 2018. Of the 54 LMICs, 24 countries reached 80% coverage of both INSD and SBA in 2018, and predictions for 40 countries are set to exceed 80% by 2030. The trends in coverage of INSD and SBA of adult mothers mostly align with those for adolescent mothers. Our findings show that urban-rural and wealth-based inequalities to delivery care remain persistent by 2030. In 2018, urban settings across 54 countries had higher rates of coverage exceeding 80% compared to rural for both INSD (45 urban, 16 rural) and SBA (50 urban, 19 rural). Several factors such as household head age ≥ 46 years, household head being female, access to mass media, lower parity, higher education, higher ANC visits and higher socio-economic status could increase the coverage of INSD and SBA among adolescents and adult women.Conclusions
More than three-quarters of the LMICs are predicted to achieve 80% coverage of INSD and SBA among adolescent mothers in 2030, although with sustained inequalities.
Transdisciplinarity of India’s master’s level public health programmes: evidence from admission criteria of the programmes offered since 1995
In the Indian subcontinent, Master’s-level Public Health (MlPH) programmes attract graduates of diverse academic disciplines from health and non-health sciences alike. Considering the current and futuristic importance of the public health cadre, we described them and reviewed their transdisciplinarity status based on MlPH admissibility criteria 1995 to 2021.Methods
Using a search strategy, we abstracted information available in the public domain on MlPH programmes and their admissibility criteria. We categorized the admission criteria based on specified disciplines into Health science, Non-health science and Non-health non-science categories. We described the MlPH programmes by location, type of institution, course duration, curriculum, pedagogical methods, specializations offered, and nature of admission criteria statements. We calculated descriptive statistics for eligible educational qualifications for MlPH admission.Results
Overall, 76 Indian institutions (Medical colleges—21 and Non-medical coleges—55) offered 92 MlPH programmes (Private—58 and Public—34). We included 89 for review. These programmes represent a 51% increase (n = 47) from 2016 to 2021. They are mostly concentrated in 21 Indian provinces. These programmes stated that they admit candidates of but not limited to “graduation in any life sciences”, “3-year bachelor’s degree in any discipline”, “graduation from any Indian universities”, and “graduation in any discipline”. Among the health science disciplines, Modern medicine (n = 89; 100%), Occupational therapy (n = 57; 64%) is the least eligible. Among the non-health science disciplines, life sciences and behavioural sciences (n = 53; 59%) and non-health non-science disciplines, humanities and social sciences (n = 62; 72%) are the topmost eligible disciplines for admission in the MPH programmes.Conclusion
Our review suggests that India’s MlPH programmes are less transdisciplinary. Relatively, non-medical institutions offer admission to various academic disciplines than the medical institutions in their MlPH programmes. India’s Master’s level public health programmes could be more inclusive by opening to graduates from trans-disciplinary backgrounds.
Online faculty development in low- and middle-income countries for health professions educators: a rapid realist review
Health professions educators require support to develop teaching and learning, research, educational leadership, and administrative skills to strengthen their higher education role through faculty development initiatives. Where administration has pursued face-to-face and online faculty development initiatives, results have positively influenced health professions educators. There is limited evidence demonstrating how online faculty development works for health professions educators in low- and middle-income countries who engage in online health professions education (HPE) faculty development.Methods
A Conjecture Map for online HPE faculty development courses identified candidate theories for a rapid realist review. The Conjecture Map and candidate theories, Community of Inquiry and the Conversational Framework guided the development of search terms and analysis for this review. Three searches using EbscoHost databases yielded 1030 abstracts. A primary and secondary research team participated in a multi-reviewer blinded process in assessing abstracts, selecting full-text articles, and data extraction. The primary research team analysed eight articles for this rapid realist review to answer the research question: How do online HPE faculty development courses work, or not work, in low- and middle-income countries? Data were analysed and mapped to the initial Conjecture Map and the research question.Results
The research references US-based organisations forming partnerships with low- and middle-income countries, and who provide funding for online HPE faculty development initiatives. These initiatives design courses that facilitate learning through engagement from which participants report beneficial outcomes of professional and career development. The review does not clarify if the reported outcomes are generalisable for facilitators from low-and middle-income countries. The findings of this review demonstrate the role of a community of practice as the dominant mechanism through which the outcomes are achieved, based on a design that incorporates six triggering events. The design aligns the triggering events with the three categories of the Community of Inquiry—a theory for designing online learning environments.Conclusion
Health professions educators in low- and middle-income countries can develop professional and interpersonal skills through a well-designed, specifically constructed online community that prioritises active discussion.
Informal payments for modern family planning methods at public facilities in Tanzania: room for improvement
Financial access to family planning (FP) is essential to the health and well-being of women in Tanzania. Tanzanian policy dictates that FP methods and services obtained at public facilities are provided for free. However, public sector FP is no longer free when providers solicit informal payments. In this analysis, we investigate the prevalence and amount of informal payments for FP in Tanzania.Methods
We used data from the 2015–2016 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey to investigate whether informal payments for FP had been effectively eliminated by this policy.Results
We found that, at public sector facilities, the majority (84.6%) of women received their current FP method for free (95% confidence interval (CI): 81.9, 87.3), but this proportion varied meaningfully by facility and method type. Injectable contraception was the most commonly used method by women in the lowest wealth quintiles and was most frequently sought by these women from a government dispensary. One in four women (25.8%) seeking injectable contraception from government dispensaries reported paying a fee (95% CI: 19.5, 32.1). Among injectable users who reported payment for their current method, the mean cost at public sector facilities was 1420 Tanzanian Shillings (TSh) and the mean cost at private sector facilities was TSh 1930 (approximately 0.61 United States Dollars (USD) and 0.83 USD, respectively). Among implant users who reported payment for their current method, the mean cost at public sector facilities was TSh 4127 and the mean cost at private sector facilities was TSh 6194 (approximately 1.78 USD and 2.68 USD, respectively).Conclusion
These findings suggest that the majority of women visiting public facilities in Tanzania did not pay informal payments for FP methods or services; however, informal payments at public facilities did occur, varying by facility and method type. Adherence to existing policies mandating free FP methods and services at public facilities, especially government dispensaries, is critical for ensuring contraceptive access among the most economically vulnerable women.
Determining staffing standards for primary care services using workload indicators of staffing needs in the Philippines
Health services cannot be delivered without an adequate, competent health workforce. Evidence suggests a direct relationship between density of health workforce and health outcomes. The Philippines is faced with health workforce challenges including shortages, inequitable distribution and inadequate skill mix which hinder health service delivery. Evidence-based workforce planning is, therefore, critical to achieve universal health care.Methods
The Philippines adopted the World Health Organization’s workload indicators of staffing need methodology. Using a multistage sampling method, nine regions with poor health indicators in tuberculosis, family planning, and maternal child health were identified. Physicians, nurses, midwives, and medical technologists were prioritized in the study from 89 primary care health facilities (barangay health stations, rural health units, and city health offices). Data was collected using in-depth interviews, document reviews, observations, and field visits. The workload indicators of staffing need software were used for data analysis to determine staffing requirements and analyse workforce pressure.Results
The study showed varied results in terms of staffing requirements and workload pressure across cadres and facility types. Some health facilities exhibited staff shortages and high workload pressure. Out of the 40 rural health units and city health offices, only three had the required physicians needed and 22 facilities had a shortage of physicians working under high workload pressure. Other facilities had excess staff compared to the calculated requirements. Nurses at the rural health units showed high workload pressure. Ten rural health units had no medical technologists. Midwives at barangay health stations exhibited extremely low workload pressures.Conclusion
The study identifies the need for the Philippine Health System, both through the Department of Health and the local governments to efficiently optimize the available health workers by revising the services offered at the primary health care facilities. The results provide evidence for staffing requirements at various levels of care based on workloads, scope of practice and time taken to undertake specific tasks at the barangay health stations, rural health units and city health offices to be integrated into the human resources for health management systems.
Assessing the staffing needs for primary health care centers in Cross River State, Nigeria: a workload indicators of staffing needs study
A major human resources for health challenge for Nigeria is ensuring the availability and retention of adequate competent health workers in the right mix to provide health care particularly at primary health care facilities in remote and rural communities. This study applied the Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN) method to determine the numbers of nurses, midwives, community health officers (CHOs), community health extension workers (CHEWs), and junior community health extension workers (JCHEWs) required to cope with health care service delivery at primary health care facilities in Cross River State; compare workloads of different cadres at selected health facilities, and identify facilities with highest workload pressure.Methods
Cross River State in Nigeria has 18 local governments, 196 wards, and an estimated population of over three million people. We used the WISN method to estimate the numbers of nurses/midwives, CHOs/CHEWs, and JCHEWs required to cope with the workload in the 196 ward-level primary health care facilities.Findings
Basic services provided by nurses/midwives, and CHOs/CHEWs were typical of the primary health care level. They are antenatal care, routine immunization, child welfare clinic, family planning, treatment of minor ailments, assisted and normal deliveries, postnatal care, emergencies, care of tuberculosis patients, and referrals. Findings show that available nurses/midwives for the 196 PHC facilities were 79, and the calculated requirement was 209, WISN ratio of 0.4 and difference of − 130; the existing number of CHOs/CHEWs was 808, the calculated requirement was 1,258, WISN ratio of 0.6, with a difference of − 450; and the number of existing JCHEWs was 258, the calculated requirement was 203, WISN ratio of 1.3 with a difference of 55. Cross River State had only 40% of required nurses and midwives; and 60% of CHOs/ CHEWs needed to provide health services in the ward-level PHC facilities.Conclusion
The findings from this study indicated marked shortages of needed health workforce particularly nurses and midwives at the primary level of care; and overlap in some of the tasks performed by nurses/midwives, CHO/CHEWs, and JCHEWs.
Applying WHO COVID-19 workforce estimate tools remotely in an African context: a case report from Mali and Kenya
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the burden on health systems, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where health systems already struggle. To meet health workforce planning needs during the pandemic, IntraHealth International used two tools created by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe. The Health Workforce Estimator (HWFE) allows the estimation of the quantity of health workers needed to treat patients during a surge, and the Adaptt Surge Planning Support Tool helps to predict the timing of a surge in cases and the number of health workers and beds needed for predicted caseload. These tools were adapted to fit the African context in a rapid implementation over 5 weeks in one region in Mali and one region in Kenya with the objective to test the feasibility of adapting these tools, which use a Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN)-inspired human resources management methodology, to obtain daily and surge projections of COVID-19 human resources for health needs.Case presentation
Using a remote team in the US and in-country teams in Mali and Kenya, IntraHealth enacted a phased plan to gather stakeholder support, collect data related to health systems and COVID-19 cases, populate data into the tools, verify modeled results with results on the ground, enact policy measures to meet projected needs, and conduct national training workshops for the ministries of health.Conclusions
This phased implementation in Mali and Kenya demonstrated that the WISN approach applied to the Health Workforce Estimator and Adaptt tools can be readily adapted to the local context for African countries to rapidly estimate the number of health workers and beds needed to respond to the predicted COVID-19 pandemic caseload. The results may also be used to give a proxy estimate for needed health supplies—e.g., oxygen, medications, and ventilators. Challenges included accurate and timely data collection and updating data. The success of the pilot can be attributed to the adapted WHO tools, the team composition in both countries, access to human resources data, and early support of the ministries of health, with the expectation that this methodology can be applied to other country contexts.
An experience with the use of WISN tool to calculate staffing in a palliative care hospital in Brazil
The article describes a healthcare staffing exercise that took place in a Cancer Hospital IV, Brazil’s first public palliative care unit. There are numerous gaps in the literature on specialized cancer staffing. Palliative care is a therapy modality that should begin with the diagnosis of a chronic disease, at which point the personnel must be technically and numerically adequate, as well as well-distributed, to provide coverage of the population that requires this type of care.Methods
The WISN tool was chosen after a systematic review of the use of workload studies in palliative care, because it fulfills this objective. The WISN method is based on a health worker's workload, was developed in the late 1990s in the health sector and has been field-tested and implemented in several countries. Direct observation was used as the fieldwork approach, which was carried out by 18 research assistants with the assistance of two supervisors. They monitored 60 professionals in seven categories for 2 weeks on weekdays in the morning and afternoon periods: nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, medical, nutrition, psychology, and social services.Results
Except for the medical staff, which at the time included additional physicians on loan from a partner institution to address a shortage in this professional group, all categories exhibited overload with WISN ratios ranging from 0.53 to 0.97. The analysis of time spent on individual activities indicated flaws with the services' informal organizations. The authors also noticed a strong emphasis on support activities and a lack of a clear schedule for training and research. The study's findings included a definition of standard activities for each professional group, an analysis and comparison of activities by categories, departments, and work shifts, a standard workload for training and research, and recommendations to include human resources planning as a fundamental part of a national policy for palliative care.Conclusions
The WISN tool can be used to plan human resources in cancer centers that provide palliative care, and it provides for a variety of analyses that can be combined with other approaches in the literature.
Adopting workload-based staffing norms at public sector health facilities in Bangladesh: evidence from two districts
Bangladesh’s Health system is characterized by severe shortage and unequitable distribution of the formally trained health workforce. In this context, government of Bangladesh uses fixed staffing norms for its health facilities. These norms do not always reflect the actual requirement in reality. This study was conducted in public sector health facilities in two selected districts to assess the existing staffing norms with the purpose of adopting better norms and a more efficient utilization of the existing workforce.Methods
To carry out this assessment, WHO’s Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN) method was applied. Selection of the two districts out of 64 and a total of 24 health facilities were made in consultation with the formally established steering committee of the Ministry of Health. Health facilities, which were performing well in serving the patients during 2016–2017, were selected. This assessment examined staffing requirement of 20 staff categories.Results
Based on the computer-generated WISN results, most of the staff categories were found to have a workload pressure of Very High (seven out of 20 staff categories), followed by Extremely High (five staff categories). Two staff categories had high, three had moderately high, two normal, and one low workload. Nurses were found to be predominantly occupied with support activities (50–60% of working time), instead of actual nursing care. Regarding vacancy, if all the vacant posts were filled, understandably, the workload would reduce, but not yet sufficient to meet the existing staff requirements such as consultants, general physicians and nurses at the district and sub-district/upazila-based hospitals.Conclusion
The existing staffing norms fall short of the WISN staffing requirement. The results provide evidence to prompt a revisit of the staffing policies and adopt workload-based norms. This can be supplemented by reviewing the scope of practice of the staff categories in their respective health facilities. In the short term, government might consider redistributing existing workforce as per workload. In the long term, revision of staffing norms is needed to provide quality health services for all.
Estimating staffing requirements using workload indicators of staffing need at Braun District Hospital in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea has seen some improvements in health indicators over the past years, but the pace of improvements is not as robust as expected. The Health Services Plan for Braun District Hospital redevelopment identified the importance of reflecting the hospital’s role in the broader health system, particularly in upgrading the services to service a bigger population. In August 2020, the hospital was upgraded from a health centre—level 3 to a district hospital level 4. The need for assessing human resources for health requirements for this level of care was thus necessary.Methods
The National Department of Health approved the use of the workload indicators of staffing need as the best tool to support in estimating staff requirements for the newly upgraded hospital. The focus was on clinical and non-clinical staff. Using already developed workload components and activity standards by the expert working groups for level 4 facilities, we visited the facility and collected data through interviews with the Lutheran Health Services representative, hospital management and staff. The technical task force reviewed daily registers, monthly reports and the data in the electronic national health information systems. The information collected was analysed using the workload indicators of staffing need software and interpreted.Results
There were staffing shortages among the clinical staff like the medical officers, nursing officers, health extension officers, pharmacists, radiology staff unit and in the laboratory staff. Shortages among the non-clinical staff were recorded by the cashiers, security officers, drivers and boat skippers. The results showed that the facility lacks a medical laboratory technologist, pharmacists and a medical imaging technologist. The community health workers in this facility are utilized in all the areas where shortages are registered to multitask.Conclusion
The results from this WISN study provide evidence for basing staffing decisions on. The WISN results from Braun District Hospital show that the facility requires a total of 33 inpatient nurses against the existing 21 inpatient nurses thus giving a staff gap of − 12 and a WISN ratio of 0.67. It is thus recommended that the hospital management prioritizes recruitment of nurses or if no resources, reassign one of the outpatient nurses to alleviate the pressure among the inpatient nurses or the extra theatre nurses to offer some services in the inpatient wards. WISN results can help managers make decisions such as change of health facility status from a health centre to a district hospital.
Applying the workload indicators of staffing needs method in nursing health workforce planning: evidences from four hospitals in Vietnam
Vietnam has encountered difficulties in ensuring an adequate and equitable distribution of health workforce. The traditional staffing norms stated in the Circular 08/TT-BYT issued in 2007 based solely on population or institutional size and do not adequately take into consideration the variations of need such as population density, mortality and morbidity patterns. To address this problem, more rigorous approaches are needed to determine the number of personnel in health facilities. One such approach is Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN) developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), a facility-based workforce planning method that assists managers in defining the responsibilities of different workforce categories and improving the appropriateness and efficiency of a staff mix.Methods
This study applied the WISN approach and was employed in 22 clinical departments at four hospitals in Vietnam between 2015 and 2018. 22 targeted group discussions involving nurses were conducted. Hospital personnel records have been retrieved. The data were analyzed according to WISN instructions.Results
Of the 22 departments, there was a shortage of 1 to 2 nurses in 10 departments, with WISN ratios ranging between 0.88 and 0.95. Only 01 clinical colleges at Can Tho Hospital lacked 05 nurses, facing a high workload with a WISN ratio of 0.78. Administrative time represented 20–40% of the total work time of a nurse. In comparison, nurses at Can Tho Hospital spent time on administration from 24 onwards. 5–41.7% of their working time while nurses at Thanh Hoa Hospital spent 21–33%.Conclusions
The application of the WISN enabled health managers to analyze the workload of nurses, calculate staffing needs, and thus effectively contribute to the workforce planning process. It is expected that the results of this research will encourage the use of the WISN tool in other hospitals and health facilities across the health system. At provincial and national levels, this study provides important evidence to help policy makers develop guidelines for personnel norms for health facilities in the context of limited resources, while the existing regulation is no longer appropriate.
Multi-country case studies on planning RMNCH services using WISN methodology: Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Sultanate of Oman and Papua New Guinea
Globally, many countries are adopting evidence-based workforce planning that facilitates progress towards achieving sustainable development goals for reproductive, maternal newborn and child health. We reviewed case studies on workforce planning for reproductive maternal newborn child health services at primary care level facilities using workload indicators of staffing need in five countries.Method
Using available workload indicators for staffing need reports from Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Sultanate of Oman and Papua New Guinea, we generated descriptive statistics to explore comparable workload components and activity standards, health service delivery models with an emphasis on the primary care levels and the specific health occupations offering interventions associated with reproductive maternal, newborn and child health services.Results
The health services delivery models vary from one country to another. The results showed variability in the countries, in the workload components and activity standards of each regardless of facility level or occupational groups involved. All the countries have decentralized health services with emphasis on comprehensive primary care. Reproductive, maternal and new-born child health care services include antenatal, postnatal, immunization, family planning, baby wellness clinics, delivery and management of integrated minor childhood illnesses. Only Sultanate of Oman offers fertility services at primary care. Kenya has expanded interventions in the households and communities.Conclusion
Since the health care services models, health services delivery contexts and the health care worker teams vary from one country to another, the study therefore concludes that activity standards cannot be adopted or adapted from one country to another despite having similar workload components. Evidence based workforce planning must be context-specific, and therefore requires that each country develop its own workload components and activity standards aligned to their local contexts.
Workforce problems at rural public health-centres in India: a WISN retrospective analysis and national-level modelling study
Rural India has a severe shortage of human resources for health (HRH). The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) deploys HRH in the rural public health system to tackle shortages. Sanctioning under NRHM does not account for workload resulting in inadequate and inequitable HRH allocation. The Workforce Indicators of Staffing Needs (WISN) approach can identify shortages and inform appropriate sanctioning norms. India currently lacks nationally relevant WISN estimates. We used existing data and modelling techniques to synthesize such estimates.Methods
We conducted a retrospective analysis of existing survey data for 93 facilities from 5 states over 8 years to create WISN calculations for HRH cadres at primary and community health centres (PHCs and CHCs) in rural areas. We modelled nationally representative average WISN-based requirements for specialist doctors at CHCs, general doctors and nurses at PHCs and CHCs. For 2019, we calculated national and state-level overall and per-centre WISN differences and ratios to depict shortage and workload pressure. We checked correlations between WISN ratios for cadres at a given centre-type to assess joint workload pressure. We evaluated the gaps between WISN-based requirements and sanctioned posts to investigate suboptimal sanctioning through concordance analysis and difference comparisons.Results
In 2019, at the national-level, WISN differences depicted workforce shortages for all considered HRH cadres. WISN ratios showed that nurses at PHCs and CHCs, and all specialist doctors at CHCs had very high workload pressure. States with more workload on PHC-doctors also had more workload on PHC-nurses depicting an augmenting or compounding effect on workload pressure across cadres. A similar result was seen for CHC-specialist pairs—physicians and surgeons, physicians and paediatricians, and paediatricians and obstetricians–gynaecologists. We found poor concordance between current sanctioning norms and WISN-based requirements with all cadres facing under-sanctioning. We also present across-state variations in workforce problems, workload pressure and sanctioning problems.Conclusion
We demonstrate the use of WISN calculations based on available data and modelling techniques for national-level estimation. Our findings suggest prioritising nurses and specialists in the rural public health system and updating the existing sanctioning norms based on workload assessments. Workload-based rural HRH deployment can ensure adequate availability and optimal distribution.
A shortage in human resources, particularly physicians, has become a challenge confronting health authorities in the Duhok governorate, as these resources are the key input for delivering health care. It has become necessary to identify the most appropriate scientifically sound method for having adequate staffing levels. This study aimed to forecast the required number of physicians to cope with the current workload at the main primary health care centers in the Duhok governorate.Methods
A cross-sectional study was adopted to collect data for 1 full year. Data collection included both primary and secondary data sources. A semi-structured questionnaire was developed to obtain information every month from health centers on activities related to training and leaves. Data analysis was performed using Workload Indicators of Staffing Need software.Results
Sixty-one primary health care centers met the final criteria for analysis. The study revealed physician shortages and inequity in the distribution of staffing. In these centers, 145 physicians lacked an adequate delivery of health services based on the workload imposed on them. The ‘workload indicators of staffing need’ ratio was 0.33, indicating high work pressure on medical doctors. Some centers offered more health care than others, but had fewer doctors based on the current staffing practices.Conclusions
This study pointed out the importance for the public health sector and academic medical institutions to use Workload Indicators of Staffing Needs software in health policy administration to restructure their efforts to address the physician shortages and distribution imbalances at primary health care facilities.
Use of the WISN method to assess the health workforce requirements for the high-volume clinical biochemical laboratories
The clinical laboratory services, as an essential part of health care, require appropriate staff capacity to assure satisfaction and improve outcomes for both patients and clinical staff. This study aimed to apply the Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN) method for estimating required laboratory staff requirements for the high-volume clinical biochemical laboratories.Methods
In 2019, we applied the WISN method in all 13 laboratories within the Center for Medical Biochemistry of the University Clinical Centre of Serbia (CMB UCCS). A review of annual routinely collected statistics, laboratory processes observations, and structured interviews with lab staff helped identify their health service and additional activities and duration of these activities. The study outcomes were WISN-based staff requirements, WISN ratio and difference, and a recommendation on the new staffing standards for two priority laboratory workers (medical biochemists and medical laboratory technicians).Results
Medical biochemists’ and laboratory technicians’ annual available working time in 2019 was 1508 and 1347 working hours, respectively, for the workload of 1,848,889 samples. In general, the staff has four health service, eight support, and 15 additional individual activities. Health service activities per sample can take from 1.2 to 12.6 min. Medical biochemists and medical laboratory technicians spend almost 70% and more than 80% of their available working time, undertaking health service activities. The WISN method revealed laboratory workforce shortages in the CMB (i.e. current 40 medical biochemists and 180 medical laboratory technicians as opposed to required 48 medical biochemists and 206 medical laboratory technicians). Workforce maldistribution regarding the laboratory workload contributes to a moderate–high workload pressure of medical biochemists in five and medical laboratory technicians in nine organizational units.Conclusions
The WISN method showed mainly a laboratory workforce shortages and workload pressure in the CMB UCCS. WISN is a simple, easy-to-use method that can help decision-makers and policymakers prioritize the recruitment and equitable allocation of laboratory workers, optimize their utilization, and develop normative guidelines in the field of clinical laboratory diagnostics. WISN estimates require periodic reviews.
Assessment of staffing needs for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses at primary care units in Brazil using Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN) method
The balance between supply and demand for primary health care (PHC) services is one of the main challenges to the health system in Brazil. In this context, the application of planning methods could benefit the decision-making process for human resources organizations. Hence, the objective of this study was to assess the staffing needs for registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) at PHC services using the WISN method.Methods
The Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN) methodology was applied at 13 Primary Care Units (PCU) located in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. It included 87 RNs and 174 LPNs, and used data from 2017 to 2019.Results
The WISN results found that RNs were under high workload pressure at 10 PCUs (77%) in 2017 and 2018, with a decrease to 8 PCUs (61%) in 2019. For LPNs, high workload pressure increased from 2 PCUs (15%) in 2017 to 13 PCUs (100%) in 2018, with a decrease to 11 (85%) in 2019.Conclusion
The assessment of staffing needs for RNs and LPNs at the PCUs included in the study identified a consistent deficit in the number of professionals, and high workload pressure in most services throughout the study period.
Application of workload indicators to assess the allocation of orthopedists in a national referral hospital in Brazil
The study analyzes the allocation of specialized doctors’ orthopedists in a high-complex hospital, using the WHO’s Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN) methodology and approach, which measures the workload pressure on the healthcare team (positive, negative, or well-adjusted).Methods
In the first phase, the hospital’s operations and activities were analyzed using the information system. The duration of the tasks performed by the specialist physicians was observed and directly measured in the second phase. Finally, the indicators were analyzed, and the workload was calculated using the WISN application. The measurement was made using the available work time per year divided by the time unit over the previous 12 months.Results
The hand surgery care unit was WISN 1.0 and the ratios for the spine surgery care unit was 1.22, indicating enough physicians and no work overload among the groups surveyed. The ratio in the knee unit was 1.69, indicating that there was an excess of staffing for the workload.Conclusion
The workload findings and staffing calculations were useful in supporting and orienting the design and implementation of measures to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of health services.
How to make the best use of the workload indicators of staffing needs method in determining the proportion of time spent in each of the workload components and its implication in decision making: the experience of the Sultanate of Oman
The Ministry of Health in the Sultanate of Oman decided to have better distribution of the health workforce among all health facilities through evidenced-based staffing norms. Four directorates worked together to develop the staffing norms through making use of the workload indicators of staffing needs (WISN) method. The aim of this study is to describe the process of applying the WISN method in Primary Health Care institutions and how to make the best use of method in determining the proportion of time spent in each of the workload components and its implication in decision making.Methods
The WISN was applied for five priority categories, namely, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, and radiology technicians at PHC institutions. The WISN ratio has been translated into workload pressure as a percentage through applying the formula [workload pressure as % (in case of shortage) = (1 − WISN ratio) × 100%]. While the proportion of time spent in each of the workload components was calculated through making use of the category allowance standard, the individual allowance standard to determine the time spent in support and additional activities. The sum is subtracted from 100% to give the time spent in the health service activities.Results
Determining the workload pressure as a percent and its interpretation is based on the fact that one cadre or as a group can bear up to 10% of extra workload. Thus, managers can undertake sensible short-term arrangements or decisions in redistributing the cadres among the health facilities on expectation of deploying more staff.Discussion
Careful and detailed analysis of the proportion of time spent in each of the workload components will allow to have better understanding of the context and dynamics of work.Conclusion
Decision makers and planners can undertake rational short-term decisions in redistributing the cadres among the health facilities based on the workload pressure. In addition, they can as well as easily decide on the optimal proportions of time for each staff category, and hence choose what activities and tasks to be shifted or delegated to other staff category.
Lessons learned from implementation of the Workload Indicator of Staffing Need (WISN) methodology: an international Delphi study of expert users
Staffing of health services ought to consider the workload experienced to maximize efficiency. However, this is rarely the case, due to lack of an appropriate approach. The World Health Organization (WHO) developed and has promoted the Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN) methodology globally. Due to its relative simplicity compared to previous methods, the WISN has been used extensively, particularly after its computerization in 2010. Many lessons have been learnt from the introduction and promotion of the methodology across the globe but have, hitherto, not been synthesized for technical and policy consideration. This study gathered, synthesized, and now shares the key adaptations, innovations, and lessons learned. These could facilitate lesson-learning and motivate the WHO’s WISN Thematic Working Group to review and further ease its application.Methods
The study aimed to answer four questions: (1) how easy is it for the users to implement each step of the WISN methodology? (2) What innovations have been used to overcome implementation challenges? (3) What lessons have been learned that could inform future WISN implementation? and (4) what recommendations can be made to improve the WISN methodology? We used a three-round traditional Delphi method to conduct a case study of user-experiences during the adoption of the WISN methodology. We sent three email iterations to 23 purposively selected WISN expert users across 21 countries in five continents. Thematic analysis of each round was done simultaneously with data collection.Results
Participants rated seven of the eight technical steps of the WISN as either “very easy” or “easy” to implement. The step considered most difficult was obtaining the Category Allowance Factors (CAF). Key lessons learned were that: the benefits gained from applying the WISN outweigh the challenges faced in understanding the technical steps; benchmarking during WISN implementation saves time; data quality is critical for successful implementation; and starting with small-scale projects sets the ground better for more effective scale-up than attempting massive national application of the methodology the first time round.Conclusions
The study provides a good reference for easing WISN implementation for new users and for WHO to continue promoting and improving upon it.