Does Stewardship Make a Difference in the Quality of Care?

Evidence from Clinics and Pharmacies in Kenya and Ghana

Published in: International Journal for Quality in Health Care, v. 26, no. 4, Aug. 2014, p. 388-396

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2014

by Connor Spreng, Ifelayo P. Ojo, Nicholas Burger, Neeraj Sood, John Peabody, Lisa M. Demaria

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OBJECTIVE: To measure level and variation of healthcare quality provided by different types of healthcare facilities in Ghana and Kenya and which factors (including levels of government engagement with small private providers) are associated with improved quality. DESIGN: Provider knowledge was assessed through responses to clinical vignettes. Associations between performance on vignettes and facility characteristics, provider characteristics and self-reported interaction with government were examined using descriptive statistics and multivariate regressions. SETTING: Survey of 300 healthcare facilities each in Ghana and Kenya including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, pharmacies and chemical shops. Private facilities were oversampled. PARTICIPANTS: Person who generally saw the most patients at each facility. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Percent of items answered correctly, measured against clinical practice guidelines and World Health Organization's protocol. RESULTS: Overall, average quality was low. Over 90% of facilities performed less than half of necessary items. Incorrect antibiotic use was frequent. Some evidence of positive association between government stewardship and quality among clinics, with the greatest effect (7% points increase, P = 0.03) for clinics reporting interactions with government across all six stewardship elements. No analogous association was found for pharmacies. No significant effect for any of the stewardship elements individually, nor according to type of engagement. CONCLUSIONS: Government stewardship appears to have some cumulative association with quality for clinics, suggesting that comprehensive engagement with providers may influence quality. However, our research indicates that continued medical education (CME) by itself is not associated with improved care.

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