UBC Faculty Research and Publications

A practical measure of health facility efficiency: an innovation in the application of routine health information to determine health worker productivity in Ethiopia Hasan, Md Zabir; Dinsa, Girmaye D.; Berman, Peter A.


Background A simple indicator of technical efficiency, such as productivity of health workers, measured using routine health facility data, can be a practical approach that can inform initiatives to improve efficiency in low- and middle-income countries. This paper presents a proof of concept of using routine information from primary healthcare (PHC) facilities to measure health workers’ productivity and its application in three regions of Ethiopia. Methods In four steps, we constructed a productivity measure of the health workforce of Health Centers (HCs) and demonstrated its practical application: (1) developing an analytical dataset using secondary data from health management information systems (HMIS) and human resource information system (HRIS); (2) principal component analysis and factor analysis to estimate a summary measure of output from five indicators (annual service volume of outpatient visits, family planning, first antenatal care visits, facility-based deliveries by skilled birth attendants, and children [< 1 year] with three pentavalent vaccines); (3) calculating a productivity score by combining the summary measure of outputs and the total number of health workers (input), and (4) implementing regression models to identify the determinant of productivity and ranking HCs based on their adjusted productivity score. Results We developed an analytical dataset of 1128 HCs; however, significant missing values and outliers were reported in the data. The principal component and factor scores developed from the five output measures were highly consistent (correlation coefficient = 0.98). We considered the factor score as the summary measure of outputs for estimating productivity. A very weak association was observed between the summary measure of output and the total number of staff. The result also highlighted a large variability in productivity across similar health facilities in Ethiopia, represented by the significant dispersion in summary measure of output occurring at similar levels of the health workers. Conclusions We successfully demonstrated the analytical steps to estimate health worker productivity and its practical application using HMIS and HRIS. The methodology presented in this study can be readily applied in low- and middle-income countries using widely available data—such as DHIS2—that will allow further explorations to understand the causes of technical inefficiencies in the health system.

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)