About the project
Medical deserts are remote rural regions and deprived urban areas that lack an adequate supply of medical personnel and healthcare services.
They constitute a growing concern across Europe as they reduce the effectiveness of healthcare systems, which are currently under considerable strain in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and have severe negative impacts on population health.
Despite existing research on health workforce planning and health disparities, the concept of medical deserts is ambiguous and lacks specificity. Although EU countries and regions have developed policy responses and approaches to address medical deserts, there is insufficient evidence on what policy interventions are most effective at reducing medical deserts.
ROUTE-HWF aims to help EU Member States to improve timely access to high-quality healthcare across all EU regions, thus reducing disparities in population health.
The project’s specific objectives are:
ROUTE-HWF consists of eight inter-related work packages (WPs):
WP1: Coordination of the project
WP2: Dissemination of the project
WP3: Evaluation of the project
WP4: Development of a definition and taxonomy of medical deserts
WP5: Development of guidelines for monitoring and measuring medical deserts
WP6: Development of the ROUTE-HWF roadmap
WP7: Case studies on medical deserts
WP8: Consensus-building workshop
The main activities that the ROUTE-HWF team performs over the duration of the project, 1 March 2021 – 28 February 2024, include: