Preparing a Health Care Workforce for the 21st Century: The Challenge of Chronic Conditions

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This WHO publication calls for the transformation of healthcare workforce training to better meet the needs of caring for patients with chronic conditions. While the world is experiencing a rapid escalation in chronic health problems training of the healthcare workforce has generally not kept pace. To provide effective care for chronic conditions the skills of health professionals must be expanded to meet these new complexities. The publication presents a new expanded training model based on a set of core competencies that apply to all members of the workforce. First the workforce needs to organize care around the patient or in other words to adopt a patient-centred approach. Second providers need communication skills that enable them to collaborate with others. They need not only to partner with patients but to work closely with other providers and to join with communities to improve outcomes for patients with chronic conditions. Third the workforce needs skills to ensure that the safety and quality of patient care is continuously improved. Fourth the workforce needs competencies in information and communication technology which can assist them in monitoring patients across time in using and sharing information. Finally the workforce needs to adopt a public health perspective in their daily work including the provision of population-based care that is centred around primary health care systems. Each competency is described in detail and supplemented with diverse country examples of how it has been implemented.

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