Academic journal article The Geographical Review

Satisfaction Levels with Family Physician Services: A Pilot National Health Programme in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Academic journal article The Geographical Review

Satisfaction Levels with Family Physician Services: A Pilot National Health Programme in the Islamic Republic of Iran

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ABSTRACT Family physicians in the Islamic Republic of Iran have been providing health and medical services to residents from rural areas since 2005, and from 2011 these services have been delivered to urban residents in Fars and Mazandaran provinces. This study was conducted in 2014 to measure the rate of user satisfaction with services provided by family physicians to the rural and urban population of the second most populated county in Fars province (Marvdasht county, population > 330 000). In urban and rural areas, 1650 houses (825 in rural and 825 in urban areas) were selected, of which 1561 houses were inhabited (2908 individuals in urban and 3062 individuals in rural areas) and an interview-administered doorstep questionnaire was completed. Overall satisfaction rate was 59.2%: 54.5% for urban areas and 63.2% for rural areas. This study suggests that satisfaction is higher among rural residents and that better quality services from family physicians are needed in both rural and urban communities.

Programme de sante pilote national en Republique islamique d'Iran: satisfaction concernant la prestation de services des medecins de famille

RESUME En Republique islamique d'Iran, les medecins de famille fournissent des services medico-sanitaires aux habitants des zones rurales depuis 2005. Depuis 2011, les habitants urbains des provinces de Fars et Mazandaran beneficient egalement de ces prestations de service. La presente etude a ete menee en 2014 afin de mesurer le taux de satisfaction des beneficiaires des services fournis par des medecins de famille aux populations urbaines et rurales du deuxieme departement le plus peuple de la province de Fars, a savoir Marvdasht, qui regroupe une population de plus de 330 000 habitants. Dans les zones urbaines et rurales, 1650 maisons (825 en zone rurale et 825 en zone urbaine) ont ete selectionnees, parmi lesquelles 1561 etaient habitees (2908 individus en zone urbaine et 3062 en zone rurale), et un questionnaire a ete rempli sur la base d'entretiens << pas de porte.>> Le taux de satisfaction global etait de 59,2 %, avec 54,5 % pour les zones urbaines et 63,2 % pour les zones rurales. Cette etude suggere que la satisfaction est plus elevee parmi les habitants ruraux, et qu'il est necessaire d'ameliorer la qualite des services fournis par les medecins de famille dans les communautes rurales comme urbaines.

Introduction

Health is designated as a fundamental human right by almost all countries and its development is considered as one of the most important government responsibilities (1). Quality, accessible and cost--effective health services and satisfaction of users are the core principles in any health care system (2). Family physicians are used by national health systems in many countries to deliver basic medical care. The family physicians programme (FPP) seems to be an effective approach for increasing equitable access to health and medical services (3).

The fourth national strategic programme on Iran's economy and social and cultural development stresses the importance of expanding the coverage of health insurance, with a significant focus on the family physician and referral system. The Iranian FPP and patient referral system started in rural areas a long time ago (4). The FPP is running as a pilot project in urban areas of 2 provinces, Fars and Mazandaran. In Fars province, the fourth largest province by population, the urban family physician services have been delivered to urban residences since 2011. A large number of staff and facilities are involved in this programme, in fact, about 1052 general practitioners, 1214 specialists, 376 laboratory centres, 134 radiology departments and 591 pharmacies are working with the Ministry of Health and Medical Education as a team member of the FPP (5).

According to the Iranian FPP and urban referral system guidelines, the participating family physicians are responsible for people's primary medical care and follow-up of patients whom they have referred to the specialized levels. …

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