Overworked? On the relationship between workload and health worker performance
The shortage of health workers in many low-income countries poses a threat to the quality of health services. When the number of patients per health worker grows sufficiently high, there will be insufficient time to diagnose and treat all patients adequately. This paper tests the hypothesis that high caseload reduces the level of effort per patient in the diagnostic process. We observed 159 clinicians in 2095 outpatient consultations at 126 health facilities in rural Tanzania. Surprisingly, we find no association between caseload and the level of effort per patient. Clinicians appear to have ample amounts of idle time. We conclude that health workers are not overworked and that scaling up the number of health workers is unlikely to raise the quality of health services. Training has a positive effect on quality but is not in itself sufficient to raise quality to adequate levels.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Nazmul Chaudhury & Jeffrey Hammer & Michael Kremer & Karthik Muralidharan & F. Halsey Rogers, 2006. "Missing in Action: Teacher and Health Worker Absence in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 91-116, Winter.
- Ofori-Adjei, David & Arhinful, Daniel K., 1996. "Effect of training on the clinical management of malaria by medical assistants in Ghana," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 42(8), pages 1169-1176, April.
- Das, Jishnu & Hammer, Jeffrey, 2007.
"Money for nothing: The dire straits of medical practice in Delhi, India,"
Journal of Development Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 1-36, May.
- Das, Jishnu & Hammer, Jeffrey, 2005. "Money for nothing : the dire straits of medical practice in Delhi, India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3669, The World Bank.
- Leonard, Kenneth & Masatu, Melkiory C., 2006. "Outpatient process quality evaluation and the Hawthorne Effect," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(9), pages 2330-2340, November.
- Madden, J. M. & Quick, J. D. & Ross-Degnan, D. & Kafle, K. K., 1997. "Undercover careseekers: Simulated clients in the study of health provider behavior in developing countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 1465-1482, November.
- Kenneth L. Leonard & Gilbert R. Mliga & Damen Haile Mariam, 2002. "Bypassing Health Centres in Tanzania: Revealed Preferences for Quality," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 11(4), pages 441-471, December.
- Paredes, Patricia & de la Peña, Manuela & Flores-Guerra, Enrique & Diaz, Judith & Trostle, James, 1996. "Factors influencing physicians' prescribing behaviour in the treatment of childhood diarrhoea: Knowledge may not be the clue," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 42(8), pages 1141-1153, April.
- Kenneth L. Leonard & Melkiory C. Masatu & Alexandre Vialou, 2007. "Getting Doctors to Do Their Best: The Roles of Ability and Motivation in Health Care Quality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(3).
- Das, Jishnu & Hammer, Jeffrey & Leonard, Kenneth, 2008.
"The quality of medical advice in low-income countries,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
4501, The World Bank.
- Jishnu Das & Jeffrey Hammer & Kenneth Leonard, 2008. "The Quality of Medical Advice in Low-Income Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 93-114, Spring.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:29:y:2010:i:5:p:686-698. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.