Citing a need to use the best information possible when making policy decisions related to healthcare, the Wyoming Healthcare Commission Monday released a statistical handbook on Wyoming healthcare professionals and facilities.
Commission Chairwoman Dixie Roberts
Joined by Gov. Dave Freudenthal and several members of the Wyoming Legislature, Commission Chairwoman Dixie Roberts explained the reasons for developing this information. "The Legislature asked the commission to help them make data-driven decisions related to our healthcare workforce," she said. "This is a snapshot what we've gathered to respond to that need."
The handbook provides examples of the information contained in a newly developed database on physicians, physician assistants, advance practice nurses, dentists, pharmacists, pharmacies and hospitals. The handbook covers a wide range of topics such as education backgrounds, ages, practice locations, specialties, services and retirement timeframes.
Freudenthal said the data would have a variety of important uses. "All too often, we are influenced by insufficient information and rumor when making healthcare policy decisions," the governor said. "Whether it is pinpointing the training programs we need, or examining our ability to deliver services in our most rural areas, this information can be a critical piece to better decision-making."
The handbook was developed in cooperation with the Health Professions Tracking Center (HPTC) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Over the past year, HPTC conducted a series of surveys to build the database and will continue collecting information to maintain its accuracy. In addition to its work in Wyoming, HPTC manages information on the healthcare professions and facilities of Nebraska and Western Iowa.
"While this data is useful today, it will grow even more useful in the future as we continue to gather updates and gain the ability to track trends," said Sen. Charlie Scott, R-Casper. Copies of the handbook may be obtained by contacting the Wyoming Healthcare Commission at (307) 235-3221. It may also be viewed at county libraries across the state.