Maternal and neonatal mortality rates in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are still far above the targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3. Value-based healthcare (VBHC) has the potential to outperform traditional supply-driven approaches in changing this dismal situation, and significantly improve maternal, neonatal and child health (MNCH) outcomes. We developed a theory of change and used a cohort-based implementation approach to create short and long learning cycles along which different components of the VBHC framework were introduced and evaluated in Kenya. At the core of the approach was a value-based care bundle for maternity care, with predefined cost and quality of care using WHO guidelines and adjusted to the risk profile of the pregnancy. The care bundle was implemented using a digital exchange platform that connects pregnant women, clinics and payers. The platform manages financial transactions, enables bi-directional communication with pregnant women via SMS, collects data from clinics and shares enriched information via dashboards with payers and clinics. While the evaluation of health outcomes is ongoing, first results show improved adherence to evidence-based care pathways at a predictable cost per enrolled person. This community case study shows that implementation of the VBHC framework in an LMIC setting is possible for MNCH. The incremental, cohort-based approach enabled iterative learning processes. This can support the restructuring of health systems in low resource settings from an output-driven model to a value based financing-driven model.
Keywords: LMIC; MNCH; cohort-based implementation; digital health; outcome measurement; value-based healthcare.
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