Managing workload is perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of allied health practice. Workload refers to all activities required and performed by Allied Health Professionals within their role. It includes activities related to client/patient services, as well as other roles that you may be required to undertake such as student supervision, training of staff, research, service planning, administrative activities, etc. The term caseload typically refers to the number of clients AHPs serve through direct and/or indirect service delivery options.
Allied health workload tends to reflect four key activity clusters (as described by the National Allied Health Casemix Committee):
Clinical Care: Activities that provide a service to an individual, group or community to influence health status. Services may be diagnostic, therapeutic, consultative, dispensing or preventative in nature. This includes direct (screening, assessment and intervention) and indirect (case conferences, reports, program development etc) services. Time required for travel should also be considered.
Clinical Service Management: Professional and management activities that support and are essential to clinical care. This includes activities such as staff management, statistical gather and reporting, quality activities, professional development, program evaluation etc. See the Clinical Leadership and Administration & Management pages for further information.
Teaching and Training: Formal teaching or training activities which relate to the imparting of knowledge, skills and clinical competency to undergraduate and post graduate students, practitioners in own discipline, and other practitioners as part of a structured program. This may include clinical supervision.
Research: Activities undertaken to advance the knowledge of the delivery of care to an individual, group or community. Research is limited to activities that lead to and follow formal approval of the project by a research committee or equivalent body.
Your ability to manage your workload across these four clusters is influenced by:
- Activity: the work required to be undertaken by the role
- Capacity: all of the resources required to do the work (including time and equipment)
- Demand: all requests or referrals from all services and sources.
- Capabilities: the skills and competencies required to carry out the activities.
Workload Management & You
A workload analysis process is necessary for Allied Health Professionals to ensure that time available to perform required activities is consistent with the time available. A continuous cycle of analysis and planning is necessary to ensure time is available for all activities and that the workload is 'balanced'.
- Brainstorm all the roles, responsibilities and activities necessary as part of your job (activity and demand). Sort them into the four activity clusters identified above.
- Discuss with your manager the percentage of time that should be allocated to each cluster (and if possible each role).
- Reflect on your capacity to do the required work/activity. Is there a balance?
- Discuss with your manager or supervisor strategies to cope with an imbalance between demand/activities and capacity.
- Time Management
- Caseload Management
- Prioritisation & Demand Management
- Allied Health Professionals: Workload Measures and Management(link is external) (NHS, Scotland)
- Health Activity Hierarchy (link is external)(National Allied Health Casemix Committee, 2001).