Leveraging existing program data for routine efficiency measurement in Zambia
Gates Open Research
As donor contributions for HIV/AIDS stagnate globally, national governments must seek ways to improve use of existing resources through interventions to drive efficiency at the facility level. But program managers lack routinely available information on unit expenditures at points of care, and higher-level planners are unable to assess how resources are used throughout the health system. Thus, managers cannot measure current levels of technical efficiency, and are unable to evaluate
... s of interventions to increase technical efficiency. Methods: FHI 360 developed the Routine Efficiency Monitoring System (REMS), a relational database that leverages existing budget, expenditure and output data to produce quarterly site-level estimates of unit expenditure per service. Along with the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) and implementation partner Avencion, we configured REMS to measure technical efficiency of Ministry of Health resources used to deliver HIV/AIDS services in 326 facilities in 17 high-priority districts in Copperbelt and Central Provinces. REMS allocation algorithms were developed through facility assessments and key informant interviews with MoH staff. Existing IFMIS and DHIS-2 data streams provide recurring flows of expenditure and output data needed to estimate service-specific unit expenditures. Trained users access REMS output through user-friendly dashboards delivered through a web-based application. Results: District health management teams are using REMS to identify "outlier" facilities to test performance improvement interventions. Provincial and national planners are using REMS to seek savings and ensure that resources are directed to geographic and programmatic areas with highest need. REMS can support reimbursement for social health insurance and provide time-series data on facility-level costs for modeling purposes. Conclusions: REMS gives managers and planners substantially-improved data on how programs transform resources into services. The GRZ is seeking funding to expand REMS nationally, covering all major disease areas. Improved technical efficiency supports the goal of a sustainable HIV/AIDS response.