Dynamic Simulation of Healthcare Manpower Systems: A Market-based Perspective

Michael Mutingi and Charles Mbohwa


System dynamics, Manpower systems, Manpower planning, Policy evaluation


Health manpower supply decisions are highly critical in every growing society. In times of growing healthcare needs, the dynamics of the healthcare job market creates challenges for many training institutions when formulating policy structures for training and supply of healthcare professionals. Dynamic interactions between variables, time lags, and feedback effects need a cautious consideration in healthcare manpower planning. Poor policy structures have negative impacts, such as over- or under-investment in training capacity build-up which ultimately leads to unwanted imbalances in the labour market. A cautious approach is required when selecting the right information feedbacks that can assist in designing manpower policy structures. In this paper, we develop a system dynamics approach that utilizes a select set of indices which reflect trends in the labour market. The model demonstrates the dynamic influence between college recruitment, training, supply and demand in a causal loop form. Dynamic what-if analyses further expose the effects of modifying key policy parameters in a typical healthcare manpower system. Thus, strategic policies for manpower supply decisions can be developed and evaluated. The system dynamics model is a potential decision support tool to assist policy makers in formulating healthcare manpower decisions.

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