Skill Mix in the Health Care workforce: reviewing the evidence.

Who Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Bulletin of the World Health Organisation, 2002, 80 (7), pp. 575 - 580
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This paper discusses the reasons for skill mix among health workers being important for health systems. It examines the evidence base (identifying its limitations), summarizes the main findings from a literature review, and highlights the evidence on skill mix that is available to inform health system managers, health professionals, health policy-makers and other stakeholders. Many published studies are merely descriptive accounts or have methodological weaknesses. With few exceptions, the published analytical studies were undertaken in the USA, and the findings may not be relevant to other health systems. The results from even the most rigorous of studies cannot necessarily be applied to a different setting. This reflects the basis on which skill mix should be examined identifying the care needs of a specific patient population and using these to determine the required skills of staff. It is therefore not possible to prescribe in detail a "universal" ideal mix of health personnel. With these limitations in mind, the paper examines two main areas in which investigating current evidence can make a significant contribution to a better understanding of skill mix.
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