An automated protocol for assessing career rurality outcomes of Australian health professionals using retrospective data

Publication Name

Australian Journal of Rural Health


Introduction: Addressing the imbalance of the health workforce between metropolitan and rural areas requires a clear understanding of trends in choices of work location of health care staff. Objective: Here, we provide an automated and highly reproducible protocol to examine the location of health care workers over multiple years using medical graduates as a case study. Design: Data linkage cohort study. The study cohort examined was University of Wollongong Medical graduates from 2010 to 2021 who were registered to practice in Australia. The main outcome measure was graduate location of practice in Modified Monash regsions MM1 or MM2–7 across multiple postgraduate years. This protocol used R Markdown. Findings: An automated and reproducible protocol was used to analyse choices of work location for the University of Wollongong's medical graduates. Over 90% of graduates were registered with AHPRA. Around 25%–30% of graduates were found to work in MM2–7 regions across their careers, exceeding the national average. Discussion: The protocol presented allows for a fast and reproducible analysis of work location by region for health care workers. This will allow comparisons of outcomes between universities or health professions.

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