Enabling Albanians to “Red Flag” questionable health sector purchases and contracts

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Example of the "Red Flag" analysis of health care purchasing data.
Taken from the website Open Albania Public Health Sector (http://openprocurement.al).

TIRANA, ALBANIA     As part of efforts to improve transparency and accountability in government institutions, USAID partner University Research Company (as a part of the Transparency in Health Engagement project) and the Albanian Supreme Audit Institution (ASAI) launched an algorithmic tool to analyze the Albanian Public Procurement Agency’s (PPAs) data on purchasing activity in the health sector.

The tool, developed by the Albanian Institute of Science, was just recently deployed on-line and can be applied to PPA’s national database that includes all tenders and purchasing activities by healthcare institutions from January 2016. The tool can help users identify or “Red Flag” unusual activities and trends that may be the result of illegal, unethical behaviors, favoritism, lack of competition, and/or unequal competition. 
The “Red Flag” tool provides public audit institutions, like the ASAI, the ability to obtain real-time trending data on health sector tenders and contracting, and has the potential to empower: 

  • taxpayers to better understand how their money is being spent;
  • patients to evaluate and respond to contracts related to the quality of service and infrastructure in healthcare; and
  • journalists and others investigators to monitor government transparency.

In an online article, USAID-supported Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) Albania recently used the “Red Flag” tool in their investigation of laundry service contracts at Albania’s regional hospitals during the period January 2016 to June 2018.