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1.  The Iranian Health Insurance System; Past Experiences, Present Challenges And Future Strategies 
Background:
The Iranian healthcare system is primarily an insurance based system. This structure has an important influence on the efficiency and equity of the provision of healthcare in Iran. This paper reviews the history of the Iranian healthcare system and the impact of the Iranian health insurance system on healthcare performance based on the results of interviews with key opinion leaders and empirical evidence.
Methods:
This review uses mixed methods: a systematic literature review of electronic databases supplemented by hand searching of books and journals including Government publications and other grey literature. The issues identified were explored through a series of semi-structured interviews with key informants from within the Iranian healthcare system. The interviews were recorded transcribed, coded, classified, and analysed thematically. Empirical evidence was also sought to support or contradict the views expressed in the interviews.
Results:
Sixteen interviews with key informants were conducted and presented anonymously. The interviewees raised many issues which were summarised into five main issues: increasing health expenditures, lack of systematic health technology assessment, very limited financial resources, challenging management and regulation, and uncovered population.
Conclusion:
A wide range of issues have affected the efficiency, quality and equity of the services provided by the Iranian healthcare system. The initial and most important step toward improving the efficiency, equity and quality of the health insurance system is to focus on evidence-based policy making to generate feasible, reasonable and comprehensive reforms.
PMCID: PMC3494208  PMID: 23193499
Health; Insurance; Strategy; Iran
2.  Future of Health Care Delivery in Iran, Opportunities and Threats 
Iranian Journal of Public Health  2013;42(Supple1):23-30.
Background:
The aim of this study was to determine the impact of important social and technological trends on health care delivery, in the context of developing “Iran’s Health System Reform Plan by 2025”.
Methods:
A detailed review of the national and international literature was done to identify the main trends affecting health system. To collect the experts’ opinions about important trends and their impact on health care delivery, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and semi-structured in-depth interviews techniques were used. The study was based on the STEEP model. Final results were approved in an expert’s panel session.
Results:
The important social and technological trends, affecting health system in Iran in the next 15 years are demographic transition, epidemiologic transition, increasing bio-environmental pollution, increasing slums, increasing private sector partnership in health care delivery, moving toward knowledge-based society, development of information and communication technology, increasing use of high technologies in health system, and development of traditional and alternative medicine. The opportunities and threats resulting from the above mentioned trends were also assessed in this study.
Conclusion:
Increasing healthcare cost due to some trends like demographic and epidemiologic transition and uncontrolled increase in using new technologies in health care is one of the most important threats that the health system will be facing. The opportunities that advancement in technology and moving toward knowledge-based society create are important and should not be ignored.
PMCID: PMC3712596  PMID: 23865012
Trends; STEEP analysis; Health care reform; Iran
3.  Socio-Economics of Medical Care, Report of Bureau of Research and Planning 
California Medicine  1963;98(3):177-179.
Interest in the area of medical socio-economics has largely come about due to the proliferation of social welfare programs and advances in the distribution of health services in the private sector of the economy. The increasing role of our government has also been a stimulus. With the advent of new techniques for the financing of care, a large volume of institutional literature has appeared delving into issues which range from the role of the medical profession in the evaluation of quality of medical care to the measurement of demand for and prepayment of numerous types of health care services. Since the area of medical socio-economics is not considered “pure” enough to be categorized as a discipline, the range of periodicals, government and non-government publications and books, in which data are found, is vast. This report will briefly describe some of the more important sources of data in the area of medical socio-economics. Major emphasis is given to the literature which provides current statistical data on the operational aspects of public and private programs providing health care services, and ancillary activities which affect the market for health care activities. Leading publications of governmental and other community agencies are cited to illustrate the range of materials available to the public and to the medical profession.
PMCID: PMC1575698  PMID: 18732612
4.  Medical tourism in Iran: Issues and challenges 
Introduction:
Medical tourism is rapidly becoming a worldwide, multibillion-dollar industry. Iran has a high potential for this industry. The purpose of this study was to examine the medical tourism cluster, using Diamond Analysis tool.
Materials and Methods:
This study is a descriptive, analytical and qualitative one. Thirty professionals and researchers in this field were interviewed and official documents belonging to the Health ministry as well as tourism organization and finally related literature were examined. The data was analyzed using content analysis method.
Results:
Positive and negative parts of the medical tourism industry of Iran were determined according to diamond of advantage.
Conclusion:
The strategic issues were identified and a number of possible solutions for addressing them were recommended. More and effective public-private participations, aggressive marketing, improving infrastructures, and international accreditation of health care facilities and human resources development could improve medical tourism industry in the country.
doi:10.4103/2277-9531.104809
PMCID: PMC3577393  PMID: 23555142
Cluster study; diamond analysis; iran; medical tourism
5.  Mapping mental health finances in Ghana, Uganda, Sri Lanka, India and Lao PDR 
Background
Limited evidence about mental health finances in low and middle-income countries is a key challenge to mental health care policy initiatives. This study aimed to map mental health finances in Ghana, Uganda, India (Kerala state), Sri Lanka and Lao PDR focusing on how much money is available for mental health, how it is spent, and how this impacts mental health services.
Methods
A researcher in each region reviewed public mental health-related budgets and interviewed key informants on government mental health financing. A total of 43 key informant interviews were conducted. Quantitative data was analyzed in an excel matrix using descriptive statistics. Key informant interviews were coded a priori against research questions.
Results
National ring-fenced budgets for mental health as a percentage of national health spending for 2007-08 is 1.7% in Sri Lanka, 3.7% in Ghana, 2.0% in Kerala (India) and 6.6% in Uganda. Budgets were not available in Lao PDR. The majority of ring-fenced budgets (76% to 100%) is spent on psychiatric hospitals. Mental health spending could not be tracked beyond the psychiatric hospital level due to limited information at the health centre and community levels.
Conclusions
Mental health budget information should be tracked and made publically accessible. Governments can adapt WHO AIMS indicators for reviewing national mental health finances. Funding allocations work more effectively through decentralization. Mental health financing should reflect new ideas emerging from community based practice in LMICs.
doi:10.1186/1752-4458-4-11
PMCID: PMC2889860  PMID: 20507558
6.  Mapping and exploring health systems’ response to intimate partner violence in Spain 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:1162.
Background
For a comprehensive health sector response to intimate partner violence (IPV), interventions should target individual and health facility levels, along with the broader health systems level which includes issues of governance, financing, planning, service delivery, monitoring and evaluation, and demand generation. This study aims to map and explore the integration of IPV response in the Spanish national health system.
Methods
Information was collected on five key areas based on WHO recommendations: policy environment, protocols, training, monitoring and prevention. A systematic review of public documents was conducted to assess 39 indicators in each of Spain’s 17 regional health systems. In addition, we performed qualitative content analysis of 26 individual interviews with key informants responsible for coordinating the health sector response to IPV in Spain.
Results
In 88% of the 17 autonomous regions, the laws concerning IPV included the health sector response, but the integration of IPV in regional health plans was just 41%. Despite the existence of a supportive national structure, responding to IPV still relies strongly on the will of health professionals. All seventeen regions had published comprehensive protocols to guide the health sector response to IPV, but participants recognized that responding to IPV was more complex than merely following the steps of a protocol. Published training plans existed in 43% of the regional health systems, but none had institutionalized IPV training in medical and nursing schools. Only 12% of regional health systems collected information on the quality of the IPV response, and there are many limitations to collecting information on IPV within health services, for example underreporting, fears about confidentiality, and underuse of data for monitoring purposes. Finally, preventive activities that were considered essential were not institutionalized anywhere.
Conclusions
Within the Spanish health system, differences exist in terms of achievements both between regions and between the areas assessed. Progress towards integration of IPV has been notable at the level of policy, less outstanding regarding health service delivery, and very limited in terms of preventive actions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-1162
PMCID: PMC3890595  PMID: 24325328
Health system; Health policy; Intimate partner violence; Spain; Mixed methods; Content analysis
7.  Promoting universal financial protection: how the Thai universal coverage scheme was designed to ensure equity 
Background
Empirical evidence demonstrates that the Thai Universal Coverage Scheme (UCS) has improved equity of health financing and provided a relatively high level of financial risk protection. Several UCS design features contribute to these outcomes: a tax-financed scheme, a comprehensive benefit package and gradual extension of coverage to illnesses that can lead to catastrophic household costs, and capacity of the National Health Security Office (NHSO) to mobilise adequate resources. This study assesses the policy processes related to making decisions on these features.
Methods
The study employs qualitative methods including reviews of relevant documents, in-depth interviews of 25 key informants, and triangulation amongst information sources.
Results
Continued political and financial commitments to the UCS, despite political rivalry, played a key role. The Thai Rak Thai (TRT)-led coalition government introduced UCS; staying in power 8 of the 11 years between 2001 and 2011 was long enough to nurture and strengthen the UCS and overcome resistance from various opponents. Prime Minister Surayud’s government, replacing the ousted TRT government, introduced universal renal replacement therapy, which deepened financial risk protection.
Commitment to their manifesto and fiscal capacity pushed the TRT to adopt a general tax-financed universal scheme; collecting premiums from people engaged in the informal sector was neither politically palatable nor technically feasible. The relatively stable tenure of NHSO Secretary Generals and the chairs of the Financing and the Benefit Package subcommittees provided a platform for continued deepening of financial risk protection. NHSO exerted monopsonistic purchasing power to control prices, resulting in greater patient access and better systems efficiency than might have been the case with a different design.
The approach of proposing an annual per capita budget changed the conventional line-item programme budgeting system by basing negotiations between the Bureau of Budget, the NHSO and other stakeholders on evidence of service utilization and unit costs.
Conclusions
Future success of Thai UCS requires coverage of effective interventions that address primary and secondary prevention of non-communicable diseases and long-term care policies in view of epidemiologic and demographic transitions. Lessons for other countries include the importance of continued political support, evidence informed decisions, and a capable purchaser organization.
doi:10.1186/1478-4505-11-25
PMCID: PMC3735425  PMID: 23919275
Continued political support; Financial risk protection; Tax-financed universal scheme; Thailand; Universal health coverage
8.  Equity in dental care among Canadian households 
Background
Changes in third party financing, whether public or private, are linked to a household's ability to access dental care. By removing costs at point of purchase, changes in financing influence the need to reach into one's pocket, thus facilitating or limiting access. This study asks: How have historical changes in dental care financing influenced household out-of-pocket expenditures for dental care in Canada?
Methods
This is a mixed methods study, comprised of an historical review of Canada's dental care market and an econometric analysis of household out-of-pocket expenditures for dental care.
Results
We demonstrate that changes in financing have important implications for out-of-pocket expenditures: with more financing come drops in the amount a household has to spend, and with less financing come increases. Low- and middle-income households appear to be most sensitive to changes in financing.
Conclusions
Alleviating the price barrier to care is a fundamental part of improving equity in dental care in Canada. How people have historically spent money on dental care highlights important gaps in Canadian dental care policy.
doi:10.1186/1475-9276-10-14
PMCID: PMC3097153  PMID: 21496297
9.  A Review of Literature to Understand the Complexity of Equity, Ethics and Management for Achieving Public Health Goals in India 
In the context of inadequate public spending on health care in India (0.9% of the GDP); government liberalized its policies in the form of subsidized lands and tax incentives, resulting in the mushrooming of private hospitals and clinics in India. Paradoxically, a robust framework was not developed for the regulation of these health care providers, resulting in disorganized health sector, inadequate financing models, and lack of prioritization of services, as well as a sub-optimal achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). We systematically reviewed the evidence base regarding regulation of private hospitals, applicability of private-public mix, state of health insurance and effective policy development for India, while seeking lessons on regulation of private health systems, from South African (a developing country) and Australian (a developed country) health care systems.
doi:10.7860/JCDR/2014/7532.3990
PMCID: PMC3972518  PMID: 24701465
Private health sector; Child; Ethics; Survival; Health regulation; Health policies
10.  Reasons for Deficiencies in Health Information Laws in Iran 
Introduction:
Laws, regulations, and guidelines are necessary external stimuli that influence the management of health data. They serve as external mechanisms for the reinforcement and quality improvement of health information. Despite their inevitable significance, such laws have not yet been sufficiently formulated in Iran. The current study explores reasons for inadequacies in the health information laws.
Methods:
In this descriptive study, health-related laws and regulations from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Iran were first collected, using a review of the literature and available data. Then, bearing in mind the significant deficiencies in health information laws in Iran, the researchers asked a group of managers and policy makers in the healthcare field to complete a questionnaire to explore the reasons for such deficiencies. A test-retest method was used to determine the reliability of the questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and tables were then used to analyze the data.
Findings:
Experts’ opinion on reasons for deficiencies in health information laws and regulations in Iran are divided into four principal groups: cultural conditions of the community, the status of the health information system, characteristics of managers and policy makers in the healthcare field, and awareness level among public beneficiaries about laws.
Conclusions:
The health departments or ministries in developed countries have brought about suitable changes in their affiliated organizations by developing external data enhancement mechanisms such as information-related laws and standards, and accreditation of healthcare organizations. At the same time, healthcare organizations, under obligations imposed by the external forces, try to elevate the quality of information. Therefore, this study suggests that raising healthcare managers’ awareness of the importance of passing health information laws, as an effective external mechanism, is essential.
PMCID: PMC3995489  PMID: 24808803
health information–related laws; deficiencies in laws; healthcare field managers
11.  Extent, nature and hospital costs of fireworks-related injuries during the Wednesday Eve Festival in Iran 
Abstract:
Background:
Fireworks are commonly used in local and national celebrations. The aim of this study is to explore the extent, nature and hospital costs of injuries related to the Persian Wednesday Eve festival in Iran.
Methods:
Data for injuries caused by fireworks during the 2009 Persian Wednesday Eve festival were collected from the national Ministry of Health database. Injuries were divided into nine groups and the average and total hospital costs were estimated for each group. The cost of care for patients with burns was estimated by reviewing a sample of 100 patients randomly selected from a large burn center in Tehran. Other costs were estimated by conducting semi structured interviews with expert managers at two large government hospitals.
Results:
1817 people were injured by fireworks during the 2009 Wednesday Eve festival. The most frequently injured sites were the hand (43.3%), eye (24.5%) and face (13.2%), and the most common types of injury were burns (39.9%), contusions/abrasions (24.6%) and lacerations (12.7%). The mean length of hospital stay was 8.15 days for patients with burns, 10.7 days for those with amputations, and 3 days for those with other types of injury. The total hospital cost of injuries was US$ 284 000 and the average cost per injury was US$ 156. The total hospital cost of patients with amputations was US$ 48 598. Most of the costs were related to burns (56.6%) followed by amputations (12.2%).
Conclusions:
Injuries related to the Persian Wednesday Eve festival are common and lead to extensive morbidity and medical costs.
doi:10.5249/jivr.v5i1.146
PMCID: PMC3591727  PMID: 21964162
Fireworks; Chaharshanbe Soori Injury; Health care costs; Injury prevention
12.  Letter from Chile: Re-establishing health care in Chile 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1993;307(6906):729-730.
Chile's long term social policy has produced very impressive outcomes in general health indicators, with a national health service established as early as 1952. During the years of the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-89) public health institutions were greatly affected, with sharp diminution in financing which affected investment and salaries. The democratic government initiated in 1990 faced a difficult situation, with underpaid staff and decrepit hospitals. The ministry took immediate action to improve salaries and start an ambitious health sector reform including investment in infrastructure, technology, and modern management. Decentralisation and autonomy, changes in payment for service mechanisms, and a public-private mix are the main objectives of this reform, keeping the public role as predominant in the proposed structure. This process has been affected by union unrest and public opinion dissatisfaction, which tend to present obstacles to progress in this complicated issue.
Images
PMCID: PMC1678702
13.  Integration of home care services. Preliminary results from the EURHOMAP study 
Purpose
To show the extent to which social and health care services are integrated across European home care systems.
Introduction and theory
Home care incorporates several types of services. It is part of both the social system and health care system. Different disciplines/providers from different organisational settings, which may be financed differently, provide care at the clients' home. Furthermore, client's access to care may be organised in various ways. A European wide study (EURHOMAP) is used to look at these aspects in several countries.
Methods
A systematic literature review and consultations with experts across Europe resulted in a set of consensus-based indicators. Major topics are: provision, financing and regulation. Data were collected in 31 countries in 2008–2009. To enhance comparability, a panel of key informants in each country answered a set of questions related to four vignettes about people in need of home care.
Results and conclusion
Results will be presented for some countries which form a contrast in the extent of service delivery and integration in home care. The delivery, needs assessment, financing and policy and regulation of each will be discussed. There are several levels at which integration can occur: regulation, financing, access and service delivery. Whether and at which level integration occurs varies from country to country.
PMCID: PMC2807082
home care; integrated care; Europe
14.  Sanctions, Smuggling, and the Cigarette: The Granting of Iran Office of Foreign Asset Control's Licenses to Big Tobacco 
Background:
Presuming that tobacco taxes, levied both as import duties and ad valorem, would financially benefit the Iranian Government, such the introduction of a highly desired US product to the market would be antithetical to the sanctions regime currently in place.
Methods:
This paper as a systematic review and documents through Pubmed and webs seeks to understand the politician economy implications of nicotine addiction in Iran, focusing on the US office of foreign asset control's (OFAC) awarding of Iran operations licenses to American tobacco companies.
Results:
By comparing Iran's tobacco industry and the attendant public health crisis that has arisen from high rates of nicotine addiction, to conditions in Turkey, it can be demonstrated that Iran is uniquely unable to extract revenues from the sale of tobacco products. The primary point of comparison between Iran and Turkey is smoking-attributable annual productivity loses of each country as estimated through the use of smoking-attributable mortality, morbidity and economic costs software (SAMMEC) and the available related literature. Based on the calculations derived from the SAMMEC model, Iran is burdened with an incredible cost to the economy borne by a high prevalence of smokers.
Conclusions:
It is concluded that an awareness of this condition enables OFAC to award licenses to big tobacco without fear of undermining current foreign policy initiatives.
PMCID: PMC3950734  PMID: 24627738
Cigarette; sanctions; smuggling; tobacco
15.  An analysis of the health status of the United Arab Emirates: the ‘Big 4’ public health issues 
Global Health Action  2013;6:10.3402/gha.v6i0.20100.
Background
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a rapidly developing country composed of a multinational population with varying educational backgrounds, religious beliefs, and cultural practices, which pose a challenge for population-based public health strategies. A number of public health issues significantly contribute to morbidity and mortality in the UAE. This article summarises the findings of a panel of medical and public health specialists from UAE University and various government health agencies commissioned to report on the health status of the UAE population.
Methods
A systematic literature search was conducted to retrieve peer-reviewed articles on health in the UAE, and unpublished data were provided by government health authorities and local hospitals.
Results
The panel reviewed and evaluated all available evidence to list and rank (1=highest priority) the top four main public health issues: 1) Cardiovascular disease accounted for more than 25% of deaths in 2010; 2) Injury caused 17% of mortality for all age groups in 2010; 3) Cancer accounted for 10% of all deaths in 2010, and the incidence of all cancers is projected to double by 2020; and 4) Respiratory disorders were the second most common non-fatal condition in 2010.
Conclusion
The major public health challenges posed by certain personal (e.g. ethnicity, family history), lifestyle, occupational, and environmental factors associated with the development of chronic disease are not isolated to the UAE; rather, they form part of a global health problem, which requires international collaboration and action. Future research should focus on population-based public health interventions that target the factors associated with the development of various chronic diseases.
doi:10.3402/gha.v6i0.20100
PMCID: PMC3566378  PMID: 23394856
globalisation of public health; non-communicable disease; United Arab Emirates
16.  Imbalance between Goals and Organizational Structure in Primary Health Care in Iran- a Systematic Review 
Iranian Journal of Public Health  2013;42(7):665-672.
Background:
In recent years, the main focus of health sector reforms in Iran is the family physician and referral system plan. Fundamental changes in the goals and strategies, has increased the necessity of the need to reform the organizational structure. This study tries to review and summarize all cases about the organizational structure of Iran and its challenges in primary health care system.
Methods:
This study was a systematic review of published and grey literature. We searched the relevant databases, bibliography of related papers, and laws, using appropriate search strategies and key words. The CASP tool was used by two experts to evaluate the quality of retrieved papers and inconsistencies were resolved by discussion.
Results:
After removal of duplicate citations, a total of 52 titles were identified through database searching, among which 30 met the inclusion criteria. Considering the research quality criteria, 14 papers were recognized qualified, which were categorized into two groups of: articles and policies. The results showed ineffectiveness of the current organizational structure at different level. The majority of the papers recommend performing reforms in the system because of changes in goals and strategies. Also, some suggest an appropriate information system to be designed in the current structures. Centralization and delegation process are the main discussions for the studies.
Conclusion:
Because of fundamental changes in goals and strategies, reforms in the organizational structure of primary health system in Iran especially in peripheral levels are highly recommended.
PMCID: PMC3881612  PMID: 24427745
Primary health care; Health system; Organizational structure; Iran
17.  Exploring the potential for using results-based financing to address non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:92.
Background
The burden of disease due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is rising in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and funding for global health is increasingly limited. As a large contributor of development assistance for health, the US government has the potential to influence overall trends in NCDs. Results-based financing (RBF) has been proposed as a strategy to increase aid effectiveness and efficiency through incentives for positive performance and results in health programs, but its potential for addressing NCDs has not been explored.
Methods
Qualitative methods including literature review and key informant interviews were used to identify promising RBF mechanisms for addressing NCDs in resource-limited settings. Eight key informants identified by area of expertise participated in semi-structured interviews.
Results
The majority of RBF schemes to date have been applied to maternal and child health. Evidence from existing RBF programs suggests that RBF principles can be applied to health programs for NCDs. Several options were identified for US involvement with RBF for NCDs.
Conclusion
There is potential for the US to have a significant impact on NCDs in LMICs through a comprehensive RBF strategy for global health. RBF mechanisms should be tested for use in NCD programs through pilot programs incorporating robust impact evaluations.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-92
PMCID: PMC3583742  PMID: 23368959
Non-communicable diseases; Results-based financing; Pay-for-performance; Performance incentives; Health aid
18.  Internal medicine in The Netherlands. 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  1987;63(739):405-408.
In this overview various aspects concerning internal medicine in the Netherlands are discussed. Special attention is given to training, which is likely to be increased from 5 to 6 years in the near future. Current problems in internal medicine are mostly related to under-funding of health care and include unemployment (which necessitates reduction of training facilities), disagreement with the government about finances and an argument with the sickness funds concerning professional responsibility and the termination of free enterprise. Also the issue of task definition of the general internist is reviewed. Funding of research used to be mainly the task of the government. Problems with the national economy, however, have resulted in a reduction of the governmental contribution. Private research foundations related to patients' associations, (pharmaceutical) companies and non-university hospitals have increased in importance.
PMCID: PMC2428445  PMID: 3313363
19.  New evidence on financing equity in China's health care reform - A case study on Gansu province, China 
Background
In the transition from a planned economy to a market-oriented economy, China’s state funding for health care declined and traditional coverage plans collapsed, leaving China’s poor exposed to potentially ruinous health care costs. In reforming health care for the 21st century, equity in health care financing has become a major policy goal. To assess progress towards this goal, this paper examines the equity characteristics of health care financing in a province of northwestern China, comparing the equity performance between urban and rural areas at two different points in time.
Methods
Analysis of whether health care financing contributions were progressive according to income were made using the Kakwani index for each of the four health care financing channels of general taxes, public and private health insurance, and out-of-pocket payments. Two rounds of surveys were conducted, the first in 2003 (13,619 individuals in 3946 households) and the second in 2008 (12,973 individuals in 3958 households). Household socio-economic, health care payment, and utilization information were recorded in household interviews.
Results
Low-income households have undertaken a larger share of the health care financing burden in recent years, reflected by negative Kakwani indices, which indicate a regressive system. We found that the indices for general taxation were −0.0024 (urban) and −0.0281 (rural) in 2002, and −0.0177 (urban) and −0.0097 (rural) in 2007. Public health insurance presented different financing distributions in urban and rural areas (urban: 0.0742 in 2002, 0.0661 in 2007; rural: –0.0615 in 2002,–0.1436 in 2007.). Out-of-pocket payments were progressive but not equitable. Public health insurance coverage has expanded but financing equity has decreased.
Conclusions
Health care financing policies in China need ongoing reform. Given the inequity of general consumption taxes, elimination of these would improve financing equity considerably. Optimizing benefit packages in public health insurance is as important as expanding coverage, both for health care financing and for utilization management as well. Although they are progressive, out-of-pocket payments are not equitable in China and have the effect of excluding the poor from health care as they cannot afford to pay for medical care and so withdraw from treatment.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-466
PMCID: PMC3562140  PMID: 23244513
Equity; Chinese health care reform; Financing; Kakwani index
20.  Gaining Insight into the Prevention of Maternal Death Using Narrative Analysis: An Experience from Kerman, Iran 
Reduction in maternal mortality requires an in-depth knowledge of the causes of death. This study was conducted to explore the circumstances and events leading to maternal mortality through a holistic approach. Using narrative text analysis, all documents related to maternal deaths occurred from 2007 to 2011 in Kerman province/Iran were reviewed thoroughly by an expert panel. A 93-item chart abstraction instrument was developed according to the expert panel and literature. The instrument consisted of demographic and pregnancy related variables, underlying and contributing causes of death, and type of delays regarding public health aspects, medical and system performance issues. A total of 64 maternal deaths were examined. One third of deaths occurred in women less than 18 or higher than 35 years. Nearly 95% of them lived in a low or mid socioeconomic status. In half of the cases, inappropriate or nonuse of contraceptives was seen. Delay in the provision of any adequate treatment after arrival at the health facility was seen in 59% of cases. The most common medical causes of death were preeclampsia/eclampsia (15.6%), postpartum hemorrhage (12.5%) and deep phlebothrombosis (10.9%), respectively. Negligence was accounted for 95% of maternal deaths. To overcome the root causes of maternal death, more emphasis should be devoted to system failures and patient safety rather than the underlying causes of death and medical issues solely.
doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2013.54
PMCID: PMC3937902  PMID: 24596882
Maternal Mortality; Maternal Health Services/Organization and Administration; Patient Safety
21.  Some Basic Determinants of Medical Care and Health Policy 
Health Services Research  1966;1(2):193-209.
Long-term trends in our economy and social structure are radically affecting the supply and demand for health services. Population increases, both generally and in the over-65-years-of-age bracket, growing ratio of nonwhites to whites, increasing proportion of women, increasing urbanization, industrialization, educational levels and per capita income are only some of the major factors affecting the demand for health services. Major developments in the science, technology and organization of medical care are and will continue breaking traditional patterns in rendering such care, and definitely point in the direction of multidisciplinary and institutional makeup in the delivery of health services. Changes in the financing of medical care are bringing in a foray of public programs sponsored by all levels of the government, contributing to the unique American pluralistic health care economy with its “mix” of public and private activities. Questions, intended to point up some of the more far-reaching issues, are appended to each section of the paper.
PMCID: PMC1067326  PMID: 5971547
22.  The Ambulatory and Home Care Record: A Methodological Framework for Economic Analyses in End-of-Life Care 
Journal of Aging Research  2011;2011:374237.
Provision of end-of-life care in North America takes place across a multitude of settings, including hospitals, ambulatory clinics and home settings. As a result, family caregiving is characteristically a major component of care within the home. Accordingly, economic evaluation of the end-of-life care environment must devote equal consideration to resources provided by the public health system as well as privately financed resources, such as time and money provided by family caregivers. This paper addresses the methods used to measure end-of-life care costs. The existing empirical literature will be reviewed in order to assess care costs with areas neglected in this body of literature to be identified. The Ambulatory and Home Care Record, a framework and tool for comprehensively measuring costs related to the provision and receipt of end-of-life care across all health care settings, will be described and proposed. Finally, areas for future work will be identified, along with their potential contribution to this body of knowledge.
doi:10.4061/2011/374237
PMCID: PMC3100578  PMID: 21629752
23.  Culture and End of Life Care: A Scoping Exercise in Seven European Countries 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34188.
Aim
Culture is becoming increasingly important in relation to end of life (EoL) care in a context of globalization, migration and European integration. We explore and compare socio-cultural issues that shape EoL care in seven European countries and critically appraise the existing research evidence on cultural issues in EoL care generated in the different countries.
Methods
We scoped the literature for Germany, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Portugal, carrying out electronic searches in 16 international and country-specific databases and handsearches in 17 journals, bibliographies of relevant papers and webpages. We analysed the literature which was unearthed, in its entirety and by type (reviews, original studies, opinion pieces) and conducted quantitative analyses for each country and across countries. Qualitative techniques generated themes and sub-themes.
Results
A total of 868 papers were reviewed. The following themes facilitated cross-country comparison: setting, caregivers, communication, medical EoL decisions, minority ethnic groups, and knowledge, attitudes and values of death and care. The frequencies of themes varied considerably between countries. Sub-themes reflected issues characteristic for specific countries (e.g. culture-specific disclosure in the southern European countries). The work from the seven European countries concentrates on cultural traditions and identities, and there was almost no evidence on ethnic minorities.
Conclusion
This scoping review is the first comparative exploration of the cultural differences in the understanding of EoL care in these countries. The diverse body of evidence that was identified on socio-cultural issues in EoL care, reflects clearly distinguishable national cultures of EoL care, with differences in meaning, priorities, and expertise in each country. The diverse ways that EoL care is understood and practised forms a necessary part of what constitutes best evidence for the improvement of EoL care in the future.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034188
PMCID: PMC3317929  PMID: 22509278
24.  The change in attitude and knowledge of health care personnel and general population following trainings provided during integration of mental health in Primary Health Care in Iran: a systematic review 
Background
Mental health has been integrated in the primary health care program in small cities and villages of Iran in a national level since the late 1980s. We performed a systematic review of literature to investigate the effect of education on change in attitude and knowledge of mental health care providers and the population covered in the program during the recent two decades in Iran.
Methods
Electronic bibliographic databases including Pubmed, PsycINFO and EMBase as well as the main Iranian databases (Scientific Information Database, IranMedex, IranPsych, and IranDoc) were searched. Additionally, hand searching, personal contacts and tracking of reference lists were performed. All of the studies which compared the attitude and knowledge of the related population before and after an educational intervention were recruited.
Results
Six articles met the inclusion criteria and entered the review. All of these studies showed an improvement in the attitude and knowledge of the studied population. Although the studies were different in many respects, a meta-analysis on the two more similar studies showed a significant effect of training on long term improvement of the knowledge and attitude of the population.
Conclusion
A short term training improved knowledge and attitude of the population and health personnel immediately after the intervention. There is also evidence for a long term change in the attitude and knowledge of general population after short term training.
doi:10.1186/1752-4458-3-15
PMCID: PMC2720378  PMID: 19555504
25.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Iran: SEPAHAN Systematic Review No. 1 
Objectives:
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder. Due to its high prevalence and absence of curative therapy, IBS has the potential to create tremendous burden on the health care system. Herein, we systematically reviewed the published literature to investigate the epidemiology of IBS in Iran.
Methods:
Studies that were reviewed in this article were primarily identified through four online bibliographic databases including PubMed, Google Scholar, Iran Medex, and Scientific Information Database. Manual search of reference lists was carried out to identify any additional studies such as relevant abstracts and also recent review articles which may have been missed. Potentially related studies were retrieved and the selection criteria were applied. Eligible articles were reviewed.
Results:
From 4176 studies identified, 18 eligible studies were included. It was reported that in Iran, the prevalence of IBS was in the range of 1.1% to 25% and was more common in women. In addition, the difference in frequency of different age groups was minimal. There was a minimal difference in IBS prevalence within different age groups.
Conclusions:
In Iran, the incidence of IBS was in the wide range. Since there are not enough population-based studies, researchers should focus on developing well-designed population-based studies to determine the epidemiology of IBS in Iran. Moreover, cohort studies should be conducted in order to investigate the natural history of IBS. Investigating the etiology of IBS and attempt to organize health promotion programs are highly suggested.
PMCID: PMC3399304  PMID: 22826748
Irritable bowel syndrome; functional gastrointestinal disorders; epidemiology; systematic review; Iran

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