The health information system in Europe needs to reliably identify the health professionals (among those who have a diploma: those who actually practice a health profession, and those who are in contact with patients). Studies funded by the European Commission (DG Employment) show how it is now difficult to count accurately the number of healthcare professionals in Europe.

Health professionals are registered in organizations of different types and models of registration vary from one organization to another. It is impossible to consolidate the statistical results accurately. In other words, if each organization knows the number of health professionals practicing in a given time, it is not possible to know how many professionals are practicing on a European scale.

The WHO has seized upon this subject and is working with Eurostat and OECD. But their sources are different and the results are divergent.

Before 2010, medical demographics studies were based on different sources of information (e.g. Member States’ Ministries of Health or Economy…, National Institutes of Statistics…) and different visions resulted in different figures between WHO, OECD and Eurostat.

Since 2010 these organisations have been using the same kind of data based on:

  • ISCO International Standard Classification of Occupations,

  • ISIC International Standard Classification of Industry,

  • ISCED International Standard Classification of Education,

  • Common definitions.

EurHeCA has met WHO several times (in particular the Division of Health Systems and Public Health) on the subject of medical demography in order to exchange how it could be possible to increase the quality of the information collected on health professionals though their competent authorities.

EurHeCA proposes to work closely with WHO on this topic in order to clarify which competent authorities should be requested and which improvement we can imagine based on health professionals’ repositories that could increase quality of information and exchanges on health professionals’ data.


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