Glossary and Acronyms


Accreditation, sometimes referred to as certification, refers to an acknowledgement by a purchaser, industry body (such as an association), or a government regulator that requires an SDO to meet certain minimum standards and requirements, usually related to quality and breadth of services.


Arbitration refers to the settling of disputes between two parties with an impartial third party, whose decision the contending parties agree to accept. Arbitration is used to diplomatically resolve a conflict and prevent a more serious confrontation and typically takes place after two parties have exhausted other measures to resolve a dispute.


Capitation refers to a payment method for health care services where the physician, hospital, or other health care provider is paid prospectively (in advance) at a contracted rate for each member assigned for a specified period, regardless of the number or nature of services subsequently provided. A capitation payment is often expressed as a “per-member-per-month” rate. Capitation rates can be adjusted for age, gender, illness, and regional differences.


A contract is a written or spoken agreement that is intended to be enforceable by law.


Commodity refers to material or a product that can be bought or sold. In the case of this reference, commodities refer to family planning commodities such as condoms, birth control pills, or IUDs.

Direct cost

Direct cost refers to a price that can be completely attributed to the production of specific goods or services.

Dispute resolution

Dispute resolution is the process of resolving a disagreement or conflict between two or more parties. Common methods of dispute resolution include lawsuits (litigation), arbitration, collaborative law, mediation, conciliation, and facilitation.


Fee-for-service refers to a payment model where services are unbundled and paid for separately. Fee-for-service payment models give an incentive for service providers to provide more treatments or to choose more costly treatments because payment is dependent on the quantity and cost of care rather than the quality of care.

Family planning

Family planning allows individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of births. It is achieved through the use of contraceptive methods and treatment of involuntary infertility. A woman’s ability to space and limit her pregnancies has a direct impact on her health, well-being, and the outcome of each pregnancy (WHO, 2014).

Financial risk

Risk is a term often used to imply downside risk, meaning the uncertainty of a return and the potential for financial loss. In the context of SDOs contracting with purchasers to provide family planning and reproductive health services, financial risk describes the degree to which an SDO may gain or lose financially, based on results attained from performance under a service delivery contract. The amount of financial risk borne by an SDO is influenced by the payment method used.

Indirect costs

Indirect costs are costs not directly accountable to a particular project, facility, function, or product; they may be either fixed or variable and include administration, personnel, and security.

Marie Stopes International (MSI)

Marie Stopes International is an SDO that makes sexual and reproductive health care available to underserved women around the world. (


Mediation refers to intervention in a dispute in order to resolve it, a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties with concrete effects that typically involves a third party (the mediator) to assist the parties to negotiate a settlement.


Outsourcing refers to the practice of obtaining goods or services from an outside or foreign supplier, especially in place of an internal source. Outsourcing includes the practice of providing public services with support from private sector providers.

Public-private partnership (PPP)

A PPP is a government service or private business venture funded and operated through a partnership of government and one or more private sector companies. In this reference, a PPP is defined as a partnership involving one for-profit organization and one public or nonprofit organization that have agreed to share the common objective of creating social value and sharing the effort and benefits (Designing PPPs in Health, 2011).

Prospective payment

Prospective payment refers to compensation for services paid in advance or without services having yet been performed.


Also known as a buyer, purchaser refers to the entity paying for services from the contracted organization. A contracted organization in this context refers to an SDO.

Service delivery organization (SDO) refers to an entity that provides services. The term is used in this context to mean any organization providing health care services.


A stakeholder is an entity with a legitimate interest in a given situation, action, or enterprise.

Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus Project

The Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) project is USAID's flagship initiative in private sector health. The project seeks to harness the full potential of the private sector and catalyze public-private engagement to improve health outcomes in family planning, HIV/AIDS, child health, and other health areas. (



Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus is a five-year cooperative agreement (AID-OAA-A-15-00067) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This website is made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID. The information provided on this website is not official U.S. government information and does not represent the views or positions of USAID or the U.S. government.

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