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BACKGROUND: Provider payment mechanisms (PPMs) create incentives or signals that influence the behaviour of health care providers. Understanding the characteristics of PPMs that influence health care providers' behaviour is essential for aligning PPM reforms for improving access, quality, and efficiency of health care services. We reviewed empirical literature that examined the characteristics of PPMs that influence the behaviour of health care providers. METHODS: We systematically searched for empirical literature in PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases and complemented these with physical searching of the references of selected papers for further relevant studies. A total of 16 studies that met our inclusion and exclusion criteria were identified. We analysed data using thematic review. RESULTS: We identified seven major characteristics of PPMs that influence health care providers' behaviour. Of these characteristics, payment rate, the sufficiency of payment rate to cover the cost of services, timeliness of payment, payment schedule, performance requirements, and accountability mechanisms were the most important. CONCLUSIONS: Our review found that health care providers' behaviour is influenced by the characteristics of PPMs. Provider payment mechanism reforms that optimally structure these characteristics can elicit required incentives for access, equity, quality, and efficiency in service delivery among health care providers towards achieving universal health coverage.

Original publication





Int J Health Plann Manage

Publication Date





e892 - e905


attributes, characteristics, health care provider response, provider payment mechanisms, provider payment methods, Delivery of Health Care, Health Personnel, Humans, Reimbursement Mechanisms, Reimbursement, Incentive