ROUTE-HWF aims to reduce inequalities in access to healthcare among countries and regions in Europe by supporting EU Member States in designing and implementing their policies related to regional medical deserts. It will do so by: (1) providing a definition and taxonomy of the concept of medical deserts, (2) developing guidelines on how EU Member States can monitor and measure medical deserts (as defined and categorized in the developed taxonomy) at national and subnational levels, (3) providing in-depth insights on factors driving “desertification” and of HWF policy responses and approaches to medical deserts, (4) providing an optimal mix of HWF policy responses and approaches to medical deserts per category of the taxonomy on medical deserts, and (5) developing a roadmap which will support EU Member States in designing and implementing their health workforce policies, actions and initiatives related to medical deserts.
Divided over 3 horizontal WPs and 5 core WPs, the following methods will be used to achieve these aims: a literature study, a country survey among 33 European countries, a database search, five national workshops (NL, FI, ES, PL, HR) with 10 participants each, six in-depth case studies, and a 1,5 day consensus building workshop with 66 participants from 33 countries.
The elements of the ROUTE-HWF roadmap will be strongly rooted in practice and support public authorities and health professionals at national and subnational levels in (a) better understanding the characteristics of medical deserts in their country or region, (b) better monitoring and measuring medical deserts, including the effects of policy measures, and (c) improving the design and implementation of policies to move out of medical deserts in their country or region, by providing a rationale for a mix of policy measures, taking into account relevant contextual factors (including possible legal and other barriers).
* Medical desert is a term used to describe regions where the population has inadequate access to healthcare
University of Vaasa PI: Dr. Sorin Dan