A Descriptive-Comparative Study of Implementation and Performance of Family Physician Program in Iran and Selected Countries
Background: The implementation of Family Physician Program (FPP) in Iran during the past decade, despite of its numerous achievements, has faced many challenges. We aimed to compare the implementation and the performance of FPP in Iran with selected countries, in order to analyze those challenges and suggest potential solutions.
Methods: This current descriptive-comparative study was conducted in 2015. The implementation and the performance of the FPP in Iran and six countries (Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Denmark, United States and the Netherlands) were described and compared. The criteria for selection of these countries were the existence of well-established FFPs and ease of access to data required to conduct the research. A documentation checklist of the implementation status and FPP practice was prepared. The checklist’s content validity was established by an independent 10 member expert panel, specializing in the field of Family Medicine. The conclusive checklist was finalized for each country, based on inter-rater agreement of the three researchers and used as a basis for this comparative study.
Results: This study revealed significant differences in implementation of the FPP and relatively low differences in FPP performance between Iran and the selected countries.
Conclusion: Implementation and performance of FPP and patient referral system in Iran struggles with serious challenges and burdens, in contrast with the selected reviewed countries. As such, modification of the FPP in Iran seems to be a must. Such modification may include developing educational programs for FPs, clearly defining the duties and practices of FPs, and revising their reimbursement and employment status.
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