A strong strategic health purchasing system has a set of core functions—benefits specification, contracting arrangements, provider payment, and performance monitoring—that are supported by clear institutional and governance arrangements that allocate responsibility for carrying out the purchasing functions. Definitions and descriptions of what constitutes strategic health purchasing and what purchasing approaches are more likely to lead to better health system outcomes have been debated and examined by a number of organizations. This has led to the development of a number of strategic purchasing analytical frameworks and assessment guides developed by the World Health Organization, Resilient and Responsive Health Systems, and Health Finance and Governance Project to name but a few.
SPARC has consolidated these assessment guides and frameworks to provide an overall set of assessment criteria and benchmarks to apply to governance arrangements and purchasing functions. This will enable countries create a snapshot of where progress is more advanced or where it may be lacking, and the role of governance arrangements and external factors in enhancing or mitigating purchasing power. This information can be used to advance dialogue on strategic purchasing in countries and to prioritize investments and policy actions to improve strategic purchasing.