Background: To determine whether population-adjusted rates of physical rehabilitation need (ie, disability-related epidemiological data) are associated with the workforce supply (ie, combined rates of practicing physical therapists (PTs) and occupational therapists (OTs) per 10 000 population) across high-income countries (HICs), adjusted for socio-demographic and economic covariates. Methods: This is a cross-national ecological study. Hierarchical, multiple linear regressions analyzed current international data across 35 HICs using: current PTs and OTs supply data obtained from the international professional federations (outcome variable); needs data obtained from the Global Burden of Disease 2017 (GBD 2017); and finally relevant socio-demographic variables and supply-side covariates extracted from the World Bank, GBD 2017, the supply data sources, and the Global Health Expenditure Database. Results: The PTs and OTs per capita varied greatly across the 35 HICs, differing by as much as 40-fold. Denmark had the greatest supply per capita. Physical rehabilitation need was not a significant, independent predictor of workforce supply regardless of the multiple regression model used (P >.10). In the final model, after Bonferroni correction, 3 covariates were significant, independent predictors of the supply variable: gross national income (GNI) per capita and the current health expenditure in % of gross domestic product (GDP) were positive factors for workforce supply, while population size was a negative factor (all P <.01). Conclusion: PT and OT workforce supply is highly variable across HICs. This variability is not accounted for by an indicator of population need but rather by financial indicators and population size.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||International Journal of Health Policy and Management|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 17 Aug 2020|
- Health Services needs
- Health workforce
- High-income countries
- Occupational therapy