The healthcare sector makes up roughly one-tenth of the economic activity of modern economies, and labour inputs make up a large share of its costs, relative to other industries. As a result, the measurement, tracking and improvement of labour productivity in this industry, referred to here as health human resources productivity (HHRP), should be of significant policy concern.
In principle, HHRP should be defined in terms of the relationship between health outcomes achieved (health status protection or improvement for individuals or populations) and health human resource inputs (time, effort, skills and knowledge) required. However, the vast majority of HHRP literature defines HHRP as the ratio of procedural and service outputs over inputs measured in terms of numbers of personnel, or time.
The objectives of this scoping exercise were to prepare a “state of the science” report that includes:
- an overview of existing definitions and concepts of HHRP from healthcare and from pertinent non-healthcare domains;
- a summary of the important contributions on this topic in the scientific and grey literature, with an indication of the relative strength of the evidence;
- an overview of the leading researchers/centres with expertise on HHR productivity in Canada and elsewhere and current initiatives in policy and research (where available); and
- gaps and priorities for further research (syntheses and development of new knowledge) identified within the literature regarding practical concepts and definitions of HHR productivity for the current Canadian HHR planning and evaluation context.