The Quality Assessment of Family Physician Service in Rural Regions, Northeast of Iran in 2012

Document Type : Original Article


1 Health Sciences Research Center, Health and Management Department, School of Health, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Student Research Committee, Health and Management Department, School of Health, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 Department of Health Services Management, School of Health Management and Information Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Health and Management, School of Health, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

5 Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences, Sabzevar, Iran


Following the implementation of family physician plan in rural areas, the quantity of provided services has been increased, but what leads on the next topic is the improvement in expected quality of service, as well. The present study aims at determining the gap between patients’ expectation and perception from the quality of services provided by family physicians during the spring and summer of 2012.
This was a cross-sectional study in which 480 patients who referred to family physician centers were selected with clustering and simple randomized method. Data were collected through SERVQUAL standard questionnaire and were analyzed with descriptive statistics, using statistical T-test, Kruskal-Wallis, and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests by SPSS 16 at a significance level of 0.05.
The difference between the mean scores of expectation and perception was about -0.93, which is considered as statistically significant difference (P≤ 0.05). Also, the differences in five dimensions of quality were as follows: tangible -1.10, reliability -0.87, responsiveness -1.06, assurance -0.83, and empathy -0.82. Findings showed that there was a significant difference between expectation and perception in five concepts of the provided services (P≤ 0.05).
There was a gap between the ideal situation and the current situation of family physician quality of services. Our suggestion is maintaining a strong focus on patients, creating a medical practice that would exceed patients’ expectations, providing high-quality healthcare services, and realizing the continuous improvement of all processes. In both tangible and responsive, the gap was greater than the other dimensions. It is recommended that more attention should be paid to the physical appearance of the health center environment and the availability of staff and employees.


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