Did you know that nurse practitioners are the fastest growing licensed health profession in South Carolina (Figure 1)? Or that in more than a third of South Carolina counties, the growth of physicians isn’t keeping up with population (Figure 2)? Data such as these are available thanks largely to the South Carolina Office for Healthcare Workforce.
The South Carolina Office for Healthcare Workforce, or OWH, is a statewide resource that studies the issues affecting the balance of supply and demand for different types of health professionals in South Carolina. Its mission is to develop accurate, reliable information about the state’s healthcare workforce and to make that information widely available to support planning and policy decisions. It routinely disseminates reports, maps and data briefs, as well as the South Carolina Health Professions Data Book.
The OHW was established in 2009 as a program within the South Carolina AHEC program office in Charleston with funding from The Duke Endowment. In 2016, OHW became a permanent statewide resource when South Carolina AHEC received recurring funding from the South Carolina Legislature to support OHW’s ongoing work.
In 2019, Katie Gaul came onboard as director of the OHW as Linda Lacey, the founding director, prepared for retirement after 10 years of service to the state. Katie leads the OHW team in identifying, gathering, analyzing and reporting data to create a better understanding of the current supply of nurses, physicians, pharmacists, dentists and other health professionals in South Carolina. OHW investigates how the supply of professionals may change in the future based on the education pipeline and changing health system and informs estimates of demand based on employment patterns, practice characteristics, and needs of the population.
The OHW team works closely with state agencies such as the Office of Revenue and Fiscal Affairs, SC DHEC’s Office for Primary Care, and the SC Department of Health and Human Services, as well as educational programs, employers and others to develop the information South Carolina stakeholders need to make informed policy decisions related to the healthcare workforce. As time and resources permit, the team also works with partners, such as the South Carolina EMS Association, on profession-specific studies.
Do you have a healthcare workforce question you would like studied or data you are seeking? The OHW team is always available as a resource for those looking at the state of the healthcare workforce. Reach out to the OHW team at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Find OHW reports, maps, data briefs and more online at www.scohw.org, and sign up for the OHW e-news list to be notified of new data and reports as they are released.