The Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage (JLN) witnessed yet another milestone in its focus on joint learning for UHC on October 13, 2017, in Hanoi, Vietnam. In partnership with the World Bank’s Open Learning Campus (OLC), the network has launched an e-Module for Costing of Health Services, a digital companion to the JLN product, Costing of Health Services for Provider Payment: A Practical Manual.
This innovative online course introduces a new mode of learning into the JLN’s portfolio: integrating web-based instructional technology with a concise and interactive version of the Costing of Health Services manual developed during the JLN’s collaborative learning process, thus producing JLN’s first digital companion product.
The launch of the Costing e-module took place on the sidelines of three new JLN cross-cutting collaboratives happening concurrently in Hanoi, which was also the site of much of the in-person learning exchanges that had led to the development of the Costing manual. The launch in the presence of many of the country members and partners who had co-produced the manual marked a rewarding culmination of their learning journey.
The new bite-sized online course, designed as a complementary tool to the Costing manual and its online repository of resources, abridges the Costing manual into targeted learning exercises, which can be digested quickly to meet the rapidly evolving knowledge needs of the busy practitioner. The course walks the practitioner through each of the ten steps of the costing exercise in an engaging and interactive manner, making the knowledge easy to access and apply, while sparking the participant’s interest to explore costing in greater depth and detail.
Introducing New Methods of Learning for Country Practitioners
Since its inception in 2010, the JLN has relied on a unique model for joint problem solving, convening practitioners and policy-makers from around the world who value the importance of learning from other countries.
With a membership of 27 countries, practitioners collaborate through hands-on learning exchanges, deep-dive workshops, site visits and different modalities of virtual dialogue. Over the past seven years, JLN members have pooled in their tacit knowledge and in-country experiences to co-produce over 60 tools and products that are providing the countries with the how-to’s of implementing health systems reforms to achieve universal health coverage.
These publicly available JLN knowledge products include practical tools and manuals related to various challenges countries face in designing benefits; developing information systems, data analytics, and provider payment; and improving the quality of care and using measurements for improvement in primary health care.
An Emerging Learning Priority: Costing of Health Services
The Costing of Health Services for Provider Payments collaborative took shape organically within the JLN in 2012, with the objective to provide an ongoing learning platform for policymakers and practitioners to share experiences and solve common problems faced in costing of health services, specifically for application in decisions on provider payments.
Implemented under JLN’s Provider Payment initiative, the Costing collaborative has evolved since then underscoring the demand-driven nature of the JLN. Members of the JLN’s Provider Payment initiative realized that costing for provider payment was a key technical challenge related to provider payment and reached a consensus on the need for a practical tool that bridged the theory and the practical realities and challenges of low- and middle-income countries. Over the course of the next 18 months, 17 professionals from eight countries participating in the Costing collaborative convened in a combination of virtual and in-person learning exchanges to co-produce the Costing of Health Services manual.
The Costing manual is a tool that acknowledges the practical realities of countries, going beyond available technical guidance, and offers countries realistic solutions for addressing data limitations. The manual also provides a repository of easy-to-adapt tools and templates contributed by country members who worked on this manual.
New Approaches to Global UHC Knowledge
With its growing and diverse membership base and a recognition that many JLN products are globally relevant public goods being applied well beyond its member countries, the JLN continuously seeks opportunities to enhance its member engagement, collaboration and the reach of its knowledge products.
The Costing manual was an ideal knowledge product to test new and innovative ways to share captured best practices. In 2016, the JLN partnered with the World Bank’s Open Learning Campus (OLC) to integrate online technology and instructional design with collaborative learning to produce a bite-sized online course as a companion product to the manual to spur wider uptake of the manual.
Developing e-courses for joint learning products imbibes the virtues of an effective learning mechanism, offering practitioners with user friendly, engaging and self-paced interaction with the content, while creating opportunities for dialogue and discussion with experts and peers on the topic.