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Health Policy Plan. 2013 Oct;28(7):739-49. doi: 10.1093/heapol/czs115. Epub 2012 Nov 27.

Pilot-testing an applied competency-based approach to health human resources planning.

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Dalhousie University, 905-1660 Hollis Street, Hali


A competency-based approach to health human resources (HHR) planning is one that explicitly considers the spectrum of knowledge, skills and judgement (competencies) required for the health workforce based on the health needs of the relevant population in some specific circumstances. Such an approach is of particular benefit to planners challenged to make optimal use of limited HHR as it allows them to move beyond simply estimating numbers of certain professionals required and plan instead according to the unique mix of competencies available from the existing health workforce. This kind of flexibility is particularly valuable in contexts where healthcare providers are in short supply generally (e.g. in many developing countries) or temporarily due to a surge in need (e.g. a pandemic or other disease outbreak). A pilot application of this approach using the context of an influenza pandemic in one health district of Nova Scotia, Canada, is described, and key competency gaps identified. The approach is also being applied using other conditions in other Canadian jurisdictions and in Zambia.


Health workforce planning; competency-based planning; healthcare competencies; needs-based planning; pandemic influenza

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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