Accuracy of standard measures of family planning service quality: findings from the simulated client method

Stud Fam Plann. 2014 Dec;45(4):443-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1728-4465.2014.00007.x.


In the field of international family planning, quality of care as a reproductive right is widely endorsed, yet we lack validated data-collection instruments that can accurately assess quality in terms of its public health importance. This study, conducted within 19 public and private facilities in Kisumu, Kenya, used the simulated client method to test the validity of three standard data-collection instruments used in large-scale facility surveys: provider interviews, client interviews, and observation of client-provider interactions. Results found low specificity and low positive predictive values in each of the three instruments for a number of quality indicators, suggesting that the quality of care provided may be overestimated by traditional methods of measurement. Revised approaches to measuring family planning service quality may be needed to ensure accurate assessment of programs and to better inform quality-improvement interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Family Planning Services* / methods
  • Family Planning Services* / organization & administration
  • Family Planning Services* / standards
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Kenya
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Quality Improvement
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care*
  • Quality of Health Care