Review | Volume 18: 59 | 11 Oct 2023

Financial challenges in the family physician programme in Iran: A systematic review of qualitative research


Introduction: The family physician programme (FPP) was implemented nearly two decades ago as a major health reform. Since the health system and FPP function in a rapidly changing social and economic environment, successful expansion of the programme requires a detailed analysis of its multiple major challenges, including the crucial aspect of its funding system. This systematic review aimed to assess the challenges in the FPP relative to its financing.
Methods: All published articles related to the FPP in Iran were included in this study. In particular, original qualitative studies published in English or Persian from 2011 to 2021 were included. In January 2022, international credible scholarly databases and Persian databases were searched. All selected articles were carefully studied, and the data were extracted using the sample, phenomenon of interest, design, evaluation and research type technique. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses were used in preparing the study report.
Results: Among 491 articles retrieved from the search strategy, 50 met the inclusion criteria after their titles and abstracts were screened. Twenty-nine studies were excluded after their full texts were reviewed. A total of 11 eligible empirical studies were finally included. Based on the results, six broad categories (budget and funding, insurance system, tariffs, payments, accountability and injustice) were identified as financial challenges.
Conclusion: This study identified the challenges associated with financing among family physicians, and the results could provide guidance for policy-making in the expansion of the FPP.