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Old and new methods for benchmarking efficiency of health facilities

A dictionary definition of efficiency is .the ability to do something or produce something without wasting materials, time, or energy., and over forty years of research have gone into the development of mathematical and statistical methods for quantifying efficiency of decision-making units like health facilities. I have recently had the opportunity to apply a range of these methods to benchmark the efficiency of hundreds of health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa, using data collected for the Access, Bottlenecks, Costs, and Equity (ABCE) project.

This talk will describe the two major approaches to benchmarking, Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA), which were developed in the 1970s in the Operations Research and Econometrics communities respectively, and attempt to provide a unifying framework which can also take advantage of the vast increase in computational power over the last 40 years.