How much allied health is enough? Using current clinical care ratios to support workforce planning and workload monitoring for allied health professionals

Ms Julie-Anne Ross1,4, Ms Cherie Hearn1,4, Ms Gertrud Armitt1, Mr Adam Semciw1,3, Mr Adam Govier2,4

1PA Hospital, Brisbane, Australia, 2Central Adelaide Local Health Network, Adelaide, Australia, 3The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 4Australasian Allied Health Benchmarking Consortium, Brisbane, Australia

Background

It is essential for health service managers to be able to quantify workloads of allied health professionals to effectively manage service demand and capacity.  One such measure is the Clinical Care Ratio (CCR), a tool that measures the time spent on direct clinical activities compared with the time spent on non-direct clinical activities, expressed as a percentage of total time worked.

This recent research was undertaken by 9 members of the Australasian Allied Health Benchmarking Consortium (AAHBC), which is a group of tertiary teaching hospitals in Australia and New Zealand.  This study sought to build on previous clinical care ratio work completed by the Consortium with the aim of improving the clinical care ratios used for recommendations for the percentage of clinical care and required non-clinical components of allied health professional’s caseloads (used for benchmarking, workforce planning and monitoring of caseloads).

Methods

AAHBC has:

1)            Established a hierarchy and levels according to position and responsibilities

2)            Agreed on standards of CCRs that are consistent across all professions

3)            Collected one-month data snapshot in 2018 for analysis

4)            Performed statistical analysis to assess the association between clinical care ratio and independent variables of profession, tier, employment status, setting where work and gender.

Results and Discussion

The mean CCRs were calculated by the above variables.  The study found consistency for certain variables and no consistency for other variables, which will be discussed in the presentation.  Updating and expanding knowledge about CCRs will improve planning of staffing in tertiary hospitals and facilitate greater efficiencies in many areas.

Conclusions

Clinical care ratios are a useful tool in workload management and determining staffing levels for allied health professional services.  These results will be published as a guideline for allied health professionals to use in planning, monitoring workloads and benchmarking services.


Biography:

Julie-Anne Ross is an Occupational Therapist who works in Allied Health Workforce Development at the PA Hospital.  She has experience within the public sector in workforce development, clinical skills and management.

Cherie Hearn is the Director of Physiotherapy at the PA Hospital  with post-graduate qualifications in Health Services Management.  She is a member of the Physiotherapy Board of Australia.   She has experience as a clinician and leader at State and National levels. She has a special interest in workforce development and management.

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