As the third largest state in population, Florida’s healthcare sector and its workforce are essential to the overall well-being of Florida and its residents. Data underscores critical and prolonged shortages in healthcare occupations yet there is no single organization addressing the needs of and developing solutions for this sector—until now.
The foundation for the HWRI builds on the expertise and successful data analysis model of the Florida Center for Nursing (FCN). While the FCN is responsible for quantifying and making recommendations for the nursing workforce, the majority of health occupations in Florida do not have similarly tasked research centers. This gap in data collection and synthesis creates an unnecessary blind spot on the quest for improved community health and a more intact workforce as the health industry is a growing component of Florida’s gross domestic product. Now more than ever, changes in the healthcare delivery system and payment models mean that collaborative interdisciplinary teams are essential to meet the evolving health and wellness needs. Understanding the workforce needs of each member of the team allows for better shaping of overall workforce strategies to successfully meet healthcare needs.
Currently, information on the healthcare workforce in Florida is limited to a few of the healthcare occupations. The Florida Department of Health collects, warehouses, and analyzes data on physicians, dentists, and dental hygienists while the FCN does so on advanced practice registered nurses, registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. However, having information about only a few of the occupations does not properly prepare the state for all of the current and future healthcare workforce needs. Composed of professional and non-professional workers that complement and support each other, more thorough information about these occupations is necessary in order to meet the health needs of Floridians using a team approach in a cost-effective manner. The HWRI will collect, warehouse, and analyze data on all significant healthcare occupations, conduct research on healthcare workforce issues, and collaborate with like-minded groups and institutions to accomplish its goal to inform decision making.