Together for Her Health: How a digital platform is making private maternity care providers in India more accountable to their patients – and driving quality improvement

Added on : 15 February 2019

By: Quality of Care Network secretariat

Together for her Health is a digital platform that provides guidance for expecting mothers and ratings of private maternity hospitals, based on WHO’s quality of care standards. Nearly 700 private facilities have joined the platform in the Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh states of India, since MSD for Mothers and Almata launched it in late 2017.

Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet, Lead and Executive Director of MSD for Mothers, explains how this market-based approach promotes transparency, accountability, and better quality of care for mothers and newborns. ‘We envisioned a platform that would leverage the Internet and mobile technology to help ignite a quality movement – taking a consumer-centric, “total market” approach. We would focus on private facilities, which have been largely excluded from other quality improvement initiatives, and where up to half of low- and middle- income women in India go to give birth[1]. (…) We would provide an example of how we can align incentives, among both patients and providers, to promote transparency, accountability, care quality and ultimately better health outcomes – all critical if India is to achieve SDG targets for reducing maternal mortality’, she writes.

One year into Together for Her Health’s deployment, the data show a clear increase in performance ratings for those hospitals which have registered on the platform, suggesting that patients’ feedback is taken into account to support improvement in health services.

For the providers that register, this is a chance to show their commitment to good quality care and to stand out, while the patients can demand increased accountability from their providers. Together for her Health is set to expand to others states in India.

Read Dr Etiebet’s full article on how Together for her Health is working to empower women to demand quality maternal health services and harnessing the capacity of the local private sector to respond to these demands:

[1] International Institute for Population Sciences. National Family Health Survey, India. 2014-2015.

Photo: Test users in Jharkhand, India, provided input on an early version of the Together for Her Health platform, designed to empower women and elevate their voices around care quality. ©MSD for Mothers