Health workforce planning under conditions of uncertainty: identifying supportive integrated care policies using scenario analysis

Gareth H. Rees (ESAN University, Lima, Peru)
Peter Crampton (Otago Medical School, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand) (Centre for Health Systems and Technology, University of Otago – Dunedin Campus, Dunedin, New Zealand)
Robin Gauld (Dean's Office, Otago Business School, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand) (Centre for Health Systems and Technology, University of Otago – Dunedin Campus, Dunedin, New Zealand)
Stephen MacDonell (Otago Business School, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand) (Centre for Health Systems and Technology, University of Otago – Dunedin Campus, Dunedin, New Zealand)

Journal of Integrated Care

ISSN: 1476-9018

Publication date: 7 October 2020

Abstract

Purpose

Integrated care presents health workforce planners with significant uncertainty. This results from: (1) these workforces are likely in the future to be different from the present, (2) integrated care's variable definitions and (3) workforce policy and planning is not familiar with addressing such challenges. One means to deal with uncertainty is scenario analysis. In this study we reveal some integration-supportive workforce governance and planning policies that were derived from the application of scenario analysis.

Design/methodology/approach

Through a mixed methods design that applies content analysis, scenario construction and the policy Delphi method, we analysed a set of New Zealand's older persons health sector workforce scenarios. Developed from data gathered from workforce documents and studies, the scenarios were evaluated by a suitably qualified panel, and derived policy statements were assessed for desirability and feasibility.

Findings

One scenario was found to be most favourable, based on its broad focus, inclusion of prevention and references to patient dignity, although funding changes were indicated as necessary for its realisation. The integration-supportive policies are based on promoting network-based care models, patient-centric funding that promotes collaboration and the enhancement of interprofessional education and educator involvement.

Originality/value

Scenario analysis for policy production is rare in health workforce planning. We show how it is possible to identify policies to address an integrated care workforce's development using this method. The article provides value for planners and decision-makers by identifying the pros and cons of future situations and offers guidance on how to reduce uncertainty through policy rehearsal and reflection.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the study participants for their time and attention, Prof. Peter Brooks for his time and energy assisting with advice and questionnaire development, website and scenario testing feedback, and the attendees of the 2018 European Health Management Association annual conference poster presentation session for their insightful questions and publication suggestions; all of which helped to produce and improve the quality of this work.Funding: The corresponding author acknowledges receiving funding support through a University of Otago-Heath Workforce New Zealand PhD scholarship and a Freemasons New Zealand Postgraduate Scholarship.

Citation

Rees, G.H., Crampton, P., Gauld, R. and MacDonell, S. (2020), "Health workforce planning under conditions of uncertainty: identifying supportive integrated care policies using scenario analysis", Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICA-08-2020-0052

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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