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Improving the Quality of Private Sector Health Care in West Bengal
Last registered on September 09, 2013


Trial Information
General Information
Improving the Quality of Private Sector Health Care in West Bengal
Initial registration date
Not yet registered
Last updated
September 09, 2013 3:38 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
Jameel Poverty Action Lab
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
MIT and Jameel Poverty Action Lab
PI Affiliation
World Bank
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
The rural healthcare market in much of the developing world, and especially in South Asia, is composed largely of informal private providers. These private providers often have little to no certifiable medical training. Recent studies, using medical vignettes (or hypothetical medical situations) to measure clinical competence and direct observations of doctor-patient interactions to measure clinical practice, highlight the deplorably low standards in rural healthcare. To address such standards, the Liver Foundation in Kolkata, West Bengal over the last two years has been working with private rural health care providers through capacity building activities to improve quality in the private sector. The program consists of multiple-week training to private rural health care providers on the basis of a well-developed curriculum in the district of Birbhum, West Bengal.

This study aims to assess the impact of this training program using a randomized evaluation. We employ medical vignettes, provider diaries, direct observation, and standardized patients to assess how such a training program can effect clinical competence, practice, caseload and case types, and fee structures in the short run. It is worth noting that this study will not be able to capture long run effects, such as general equilibrium price or location changes, on health care for the rural poor.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Banerjee, Abhijit, Jishnu Das and Reshmaan Hussam. 2013. "Improving the Quality of Private Sector Health Care in West Bengal." AEA RCT Registry. September 09. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.34-1.0.
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Experimental Details
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Clinical knowledge/competence, clinical practice, caseload, patient and medicine fees
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The experimental design involves an RCT with two arms: the control arm in which providers are left alone and the treatment arm in which providers are offered training classes on basic clinical knowledge and competence. We run a baseline prior to randomization, randomize, have our partner organization (Liver Foundation) administer the treatment (training program), run a midline survey involving provider diaries, and run an endline survey three months after the completion of the training program.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was done in the office through a computer program.
Randomization Unit
Individual (provider)
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
300 providers.
Sample size: planned number of observations
300 providers.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
150 providers in control, 150 providers in treatment.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers