Review Article

Evaluation of Urban and Rural Family Physician Program in Iran: A Systematic Review


Background: Global experience as well as expert views weight the Family Physician program (FPP) as a primary solution for various problems of healthcare system in Iran. In spite of the valuable information has been collected during conducting FPP, few studies have been done to evaluate the actual performance of this program. This study reviewed the studies related to the evaluation of the FPP systematically.

Methods: The authors systematically searched PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, Embase, Irandoc and SID for articles published in English and Persian until Nov 2017 without limitation for starting time. Selection stages of the articles were done based on PRISMA flow diagram guidelines.

Results: Of all articles evaluated, 19 were selected. Four articles were removed due to inadequate quality of the study. Only one article evaluates urban and the rest are about rural. Eight articles were categorized as the process evaluations and 12 outcome assessments (one of them was common).

Conclusion: We achieved three main findings. First, the rural FPP has improved access to the healthcare services, but improvement in patient finding and quality of cares remains questionable. Second, there are considerable concerns in the referral system between levels I and II in both urban and rural programs. Third, there was no efficient planning to implement the FP as the gatekeepers of health care system effectively. These issues deprived the efficiency aim of FPP and need serious consideration.


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IssueVol 48 No 3 (2019) QRcode
SectionReview Article(s)
Family physician program Family practice Referral system Iran

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How to Cite
KHEDMATI J, DAVARI M, AARABI M, SOLEYMANI F, KEBRIAEEZADEH A. Evaluation of Urban and Rural Family Physician Program in Iran: A Systematic Review. Iran J Public Health. 2019;48(3):400-409.