International validation of quality indicators for evaluating priority setting in low income countries: process and key lessons
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BACKGROUND: While there have been efforts to develop frameworks to guide healthcare priority setting; there has been limited focus on evaluation frameworks. Moreover, while the few frameworks identify quality indicators for successful priority setting, they do not provide the users with strategies to verify these indicators. Kapiriri and Martin (Health Care Anal 18:129-147, 2010) developed a framework for evaluating priority setting in low and middle income countries. This framework provides BOTH parameters for successful priority setting and proposes means of their verification. Before its use in real life contexts, this paper presents results from a validation process of the framework. METHODS: The framework validation involved 53 policy makers and priority setting researchers at the global, national and sub-national levels (in Uganda). They were requested to indicate the relative importance of the proposed parameters as well as the feasibility of obtaining the related information. We also pilot tested the proposed means of verification. RESULTS: Almost all the respondents evaluated all the parameters, including the contextual factors, as 'very important'. However, some respondents at the global level thought 'presence of incentives to comply', 'reduced disagreements', 'increased public understanding,' 'improved institutional accountability' and 'meeting the ministry of health objectives', which could be a reflection of their levels of decision making. All the proposed means of verification were assessed as feasible with the exception of meeting observations which would require an insider. These findings results were consistent with those obtained from the pilot testing. CONCLUSIONS: These findings are relevant to policy makers and researchers involved in priority setting in low and middle income countries. To the best of our knowledge, this is one of the few initiatives that has involved potential users of a framework (at the global and in a Low Income Country) in its validation. The favorable validation of all the parameters at the national and sub-national levels implies that the framework has potential usefulness at those levels, as is. The parameters that were disputed at the global level necessitate further discussion when using the framework at that level. The next step is to use the validated framework in evaluating actual priority setting at the different levels.
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