Classifying and measuring human resources for health and rehabilitation: concept design of a practices- and competency-based international classification

Jesus, Tiago Silva, Michel D. Landry, G Dussault, I Fronteira

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The burden of physical impairments and disabilities is growing across high-, middle-, and low-income countries, but populations across the globe continue to lack access to basic physical rehabilitation. Global shortages, uneven distributions, and insufficient skill mix of human resources for health and rehabilitation (HRH&R) contribute to such inequitable access. However, there are no international standards to classify HRH&R and to promote their global monitoring and development. In this article, we conceptually develop an international classification of HRH&R based on the concept of monitoring HRH&R through their stock of practices and competencies, and not simply counting rehabilitation professionals such as physical or occupational therapists. This concept accounts for the varying HRH&R configurations as well as the different training, competencies, or practice regulations across locations, even within the same profession. Our perspective specifically develops the concept of a proposed classification, its structure, and possible applications. Among the benefits, stakeholders using the classification would be able to: (1) collect locally valid and internationally comparable data on HRH&R; (2) account for the rehabilitation practices and competencies among nonspecialized rehabilitation workers (eg, in less resourced/specialized contexts); (3) track competency upgrades or practice extensions over time; (4) implement competency-based human resources management practices, such as linking remuneration to competency levels rather than to professional categories; and (5) inform the development of (inter-)professional education, practice regulation, or even task-shifting processes for the whole of HRH&R. The proposed classification standard, still in a concept-development stage, could help drive policies to achieve the "right" stock of HRH&R, in terms of practices and competencies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-405
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Therapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being

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