The following definitions are intended as a guide to the common goals of health financing identified in the literature, and incorporated into the tool presented here. To combine evidence from a wide body of literature it was necessary to take a simpler and more generic approach than one would generally find in the health financing literature. It is therefore important to note, that the precise definitions used in the studies reviewed may differ from study to study.
‘Use’ refers here to the quantity of health services demanded, access to care and the utilisation of health services. It is assumed here that the intention is to increase appropriate service use, either within the total population or in a vulnerable subset of the population.
‘Quality’ as used in this tool, refers to service quality and also to changes in health outcomes that may be a consequence or indicator of improved quality of care. It is assumed here that the intention is to improve health service quality and that this would be measured either by improvements in a metric of service quality (e.g. availability of essential drugs) or by improvements in health outcomes - where the primary intervention to improve those outcomes has been an intervention to improve the quality of care.
Equity as used here incorporates references to poverty reduction, equity, the distribution of disease burden (e.g. DALYS), the distribution of the financial burden (e.g. the incidence of catastrophic health spending), and risk pooling. It is assumed here that improvements in equity are the intended consequence of the reform under study.
Revenue as referenced in this tool, refers to either absolute or relative revenue generation at any tier of health service delivery. The assumption here is that increased revenue generation or retention is the desired outcome.
‘Poverty reduction’ as used here refers to changes in absolute poverty. It is assumed that the desired outcome is a reduction in absolute poverty.