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Healthcare sector is a labor-intensive industry, and trained human resources is the most important element in providing health care. It account for the largest share of health sector expenditure. In most developed countries, the issue of human resources planning has received considerable attention.

The core of human resources planning is estimating the number and types of needed workforce to attain organizational goals. It is the most important part of human resources management, though it is often neglected. This negligence leads to several problems, including shortages or excessive human workforce, unequal human resources distribution, and inappropriate use of staff in organizations. To prevent the unequal distribution of healthcare providers, some strategies have already been employed, such as designing and implementing norms for the estimation of human resources.

In the late 1990s, the World Health Organization (WHO) presented the Workload Indicators of Staffing Need (WISN) method to determine the required human resources of health facilities. The WISN method is a versatile human resource management tool based on the work which is actually undertaken by health sector staff. This method has several advantages including the ease and simplicity of use, technical acceptability, comprehensiveness, and being realistic. The application of WISN to determine the required human resources results in new norms for evidence-based human workforce. This method has been used in some countries, such as Bangladesh, Turkey, Uganda, and Indonesia to improve health human workforce planning.

Determining required number and type of workforce according to workload indicators is a human resources management tool introduced by WHO. Through designing standards of time needed for performing an activity, this organization determined standards for workload. This method has been used for determining the number of needed workforce for healthcare facilities and their workload.

The terms used in this method include:

 Health service activity: Health service-related activities performed by all members of the staff category and for which annual statistics are regularly collected.

Support activity: Important activities that support health service activities, performed by all members of the staff category but for which annual statistics are not regularly collected.

Additional activity: Activities performed only by certain (not all) members of the staff category and for which annual statistics are not regularly collected Time necessary for a well-trained, skilled and motivated worker to perform an activity to professional standards in the local circumstances. There are two kinds of activity standards:

Service standard: Activity standard for health service activities. (Annual statistics are regularly collected for these activities.)

Allowance standard: Activity standard for support and additional activities. (Annual statistics are not regularly collected for these activities.) There are two kinds of allowance standards:

- Category allowance standard (CAS): Allowance standard for support activities, performed by all members of a staff category.

- Individual allowance standard (IAS): Allowance standard for additional activities, performed by certain (not all) members of a staff category

Available working time (AWT):

A health worker’s time available in one year to do his or her work, taking into account authorized and unauthorized absences.

Standard workload:

Amount of work within a health service workload component that one health worker can do in a year (if the total working time were to be spent on this activity only).

The results of WISN can be used in decision making in different ways. First, It can improve the current situation of human resources. Based on the results, employing or reallocating human resources can be decided. Moreover, analyzing the workload of different departments helps in choosing which department should get more workforce. Second, for assigning new tasks and allocating them to work groups, it can be used. Managers will be able to decide which department should have less or more employees by using the norms. Third, the analysis in WISN is done by using professional accepted standards which makes a framework for compering the results among managers. The use of professional standards is helpful in determining the required manpower for acquiring higher standards in future. Forth, Instead of current workload data, managers can use predicted workload for the future. Fifth, it can be used in studying the effects of the change of employees working time, leaves and training policies on the number of required workforce.


Basic Information:
Program Type: Degree Based
Level Of study: Short-Term Course
School / Faculty: Health
Department: Management Sciences and Health Economy
Major (Name Of Program): Determining Required Workforce According to Workload Indicators
This program contact information:
Telephone: +985138515115
Mobile: +989155053731
Email Address:
Address: Management Sciences and Health Economy Department, School of Health, Daneshgah St. Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan Province, Iran
Contact Person Name: Dr. Seyed Saeed Tabatabaee
Program Detail:
Length of Training:

8 hours

Language Requirement:


Admission Requirement:

Bachelor, Master and PHD

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