[Research Report] “Survey on Optimizing the Roles and Work Styles of Japan’s Healthcare Workforce in the Field of Non-Communicable Diseases-Strengthening of Health Workforce on Non-communicable Diseases and Universal Health Coverage-.”
The NCD Alliance Japan* and the Health and Global Policy Institute have released a study and recommendations entitled, “Survey on Optimizing the Roles and Work Styles of Japan’s Healthcare Workforce in the Field of Non-Communicable Diseases-Strengthening of Health Workforce on Non-communicable Diseases and Universal Health Coverage-.”
With the spread of COVID-19, more people than ever are realizing that there are limits to the supply of medical care. However, in Japan, a country is experiencing one of the world’s earliest and most serious cases of an aging society, the shortage of medical personnel and the uneven distribution of specialists and resources among various regions have long been urgent issues. In particular, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) account for more than 80% of all deaths, and many within the increasing elderly population are suffering from multiple NCDs. Discussions and specific measures around contributing to the effective allocation of limited medical resources and overall optimization are ongoing.
In light of this situation, the NCD Alliance Japan conducted this survey in order to contribute to the further improvement of the quality of medical care for NCD patients and their families by reviewing the roles of medical professionals working with NCDs, improving their work styles, and increasing their motivation. We also intend to introduce Japan’s response as an advanced aging country to NCD Alliance members and other countries.
Chapter I provides a comprehensive summary of recent discussions and policies through secondary research.
In Chapter II, we conducted a qualitative research of active doctors and nurses on the theme of “Task Shifting and Task Sharing between Doctors and Nurses”. Since nurses who have completed training in specified practices are assumed to be the target of task shifting and sharing in the government’s discussions, we mainly collected opinions on issues relating to and the prospects of the utilization of nurses who have completed training in specified practices.
■ Key findings of the qualitative research “Medical Professionals’ Perspectives on Tasking Shifting and Task Sharing”
- Task shifting and task sharing are not widespread enough to address the main issues of Japan’s healthcare delivery system, such as overworked doctors and the shortage and uneven distribution of medical personnel.
- Some doctors and nurses are beginning to notice the effects of task shifting and sharing, and it is highly expected that it will not only improve the working style of medical professionals, but can also be one of the means to provide prompt and high-quality medical care to patients and parties concerned.
- Task shifting and task sharing should be introduced across all specialties, regions, and medical settings. Particularly when it comes to NCDs, there is great potential for task sharing and task shifting to contribute not only in the acute phase, but also in the recovery and chronic phases of care. It can also be beneficial for home care, nursing care facilities, and rural and remote areas, where demand is expected to further increase due to the aging population.
We believe that task shifting and task sharing will be one of the most effective ways to optimize healthcare delivery in the future, and we present the following three examples of actions for further promotion and improvement. For more details, please see the full research proposal.
■ Recommendations Based on the Results of the Survey: Three Perspectives
Perspective 1: There is a need for specific introduction measures in clinical settings and training opportunities for nurses who can perform specific actions to promote task shifting and task sharing.
Perspective 2: The number of participants in specific action training should be increased through incentives and educational system reforms.
Perspective 3: It is necessary to measure the effectiveness of task shifting and task sharing to visualize and better understand its utility.
In the future, we will use this research and proposal as a base to further expand our activities and aim for policy change through dialogue with multi-stakeholders.
For inquiries regarding this survey
Please contact the Health and Global Policy Institute (Contact: Yoshimura).
*The NCD Alliance Japan is a collaborative platform that brings together stakeholders from industry, government, academia, and the private sector, including patients and relevant parties, to promote measures against non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and mental illness. The Alliance focuses on policy recommendations, supporting patients and related parties, and conducting surveys and research.