While allowing patient choice was a key step for NHIF to implement key strategic purchasing actions relatedrnto both providers and citizens18 no study has examined how members perceived the available choices theirrnlevel of awareness of the process of choosing/changing providers and the factors they value before choosingrna facility.
To assess National Health Insurance Fund NHIF members level of understanding experiences and factorsrninfluencing their choice of NHIF-contracted outpatient facilities in Kenya
: We conducted a cross-sectional qualitativernstudy with NHIF members in two purposefully selected counties Nyeri and Makueni counties in Kenya. We collected datarnthrough 15 focus group discussions with NHIF members. Data were analysed using a framework analysis approach
Urban-based NHIF members had a good understanding of the NHIF-contracted outpatient facility selection process and thernapproaches for choosing and changing providers unlike their rural counterparts. While NHIF members were required to chooserna provider before accessing care the number of available alternative facilities was perceived to be inadequate. Finally NHIFrnmembers identified seven factors they considered important when choosing an NHIF-contracted outpatient provider. Of thesernfactors the availability of drugs distance from the household to the facility and waiting time at the facility until consultation werernconsidered the most importan
There is a need for the NHIF to prioritise awareness-raising approaches tailoredrnto rural settings. Further there is a need for the NHIF to contract more providers to both spur competition among providersrnand provide alternatives for members to choose from. Besides NHIF members revealed the important factors they considerrnwhen selecting outpatient facilities.