Background: Ensuring a sufficient supply and distribution of health care professionals is essential to meeting public health needs. Regulatory agencies protect their communities by ensuring that new health professionals have the required qualifications to practice safely and by tracking the volume and distribution of those professionals on an ongoing basis. The speed and accuracy of sharing these data could be greatly improved through the adoption of a data standard for information about health professionals. To date, however, no internationally accepted standard has emerged for this purpose.
Purpose: This study examines three existing XML standards designed for the representation of individual worker data to determine if, and to what degree, each could be used for the tracking of health professionals.
Methods: The data elements of the Europass schema, the HR Open Standard Recruiting specification, and the MedBiquitous Healthcare Professional Profile standard were fully examined and matching elements were mapped to the 200+ elements identified from a prior content analysis as required by a sample of 20 international regulatory agencies.
Results: None of the schemas examined addressed more than half of the information elements required by regulators. All three schemas are found lacking in some key areas of interest, especially vital information that could disqualify ineligible applicant practitioners.
Conclusions: The three standards could all be improved by including new elements essential to regulatory agencies. Regulatory agencies should be consulted in the development of new standards for representing potentially disqualifying information about candidates for professional practice.
Keywords: Health HRIS; Health workforce planning; International data standard; Interoperability; Professional regulation.