Achievements and Challenges in Implementing Urban Family Physician Program in Iran: Viewpoint of Managers and Executives

  • Mohammad Javad Kabir
  • Hasan Ashrafian Amiri
  • Zahra Hassanzadeh-Rostami
  • Reza Momtahen
  • Rasoul Zafarmand
  • Seiyed Davoud Nasrollahpour Shirvani
Keywords: Achievement, Challenges, Family Physician, Urban Family Physician, Viewpoint of Managers, Viewpoint of Administrators


Background: Urban family physician program is one of the relatively large reforms in Iran's health care system implemented in Fars and Mazandaran provinces since 2012. Nearly five years after implementation of the program, this study aimed to identify the achievements and challenges of this program from the viewpoints of managers and administrators.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in winter of 2016. The research population included administrators and experts monitoring the urban family physician program and representatives of the family physicians and health care providers selected using the census method. The data collection tool was a two-part researcher-made questionnaire containing 15 questions with confirmed validity. To collect data, 29 panels of experts were held and the collected information was analyzed by SPSS 23 using independent t-tests and ANOVA.

Results: Among the total of 647 participants in 2 provinces, 1540 achievement cases, 2387 challenge cases, and 1641 strategies were found. The average numbers of achievements, challenges, and strategies stated by each person were 2.38 ± 2.0, 3.70 ± 2.7, and 2.54 ± 2.0, respectively. The most frequent achievements, challenges, and strategies were increased disease detection and care (430), untimely payment to physicians (198), and providing sustainable resources for timely payments (119).  The means of achievements, challenges, and strategies had significant relationship with some of the individual and social variables (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: This study showed that increasing the rate of detection was the most important achievement and lack of timely payment was the biggest challenge of the program, which should be considered by policy makers.