Document Type: Research Paper
Department of Public health, School of Public Health, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran
Background and Objectives: Responsiveness is one of the hallmarks of high performance health systems. Maintaining the responsiveness of health organizations at high level, require constant assessment of its situation as perceived by the patients. The accumulation of data on patients’ perception of health organizations’ responsiveness can help policy-makers in developing effective relevant strategies. Thus, the aim of this study was to survey the perceived responsiveness of the teaching hospitals of Zanjan City, Iran. Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out at the Zanjan University of Medical Sciences between 2013-2014. A total of 246 inpatients were selected systematically at the time of their discharge. The responsiveness questionnaire recommended by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) was used for the study instrument, which evaluate the responsiveness in terms of dignity, communication, autonomy, confidentiality, prompt attention, quality of basic amenities, choice of provider, and social support. Data were summarized using descriptive statistical methods. T-test and ANOVA was used for comparing the mean values. Findings: More than half of the inpatients rated overall responsiveness as good (58.4%). The confidentiality dimension gained the higher score (82.5%), followed by communication (72.3%), and prompt attention (70.3%). The choice dimension was evaluated as the weakest aspect (22.8%) of the responsiveness. While dignity was perceived to be the most important aspect of responsiveness, confidentiality gained the lowest perceived importance (62%). Old patients expressed a higher evaluation of overall responsiveness and some of its dimensions, including dignity, autonomy, and choice compared with the young patients. In addition, illiterate patients expressed a significantly higher assessment of responsiveness and some of its dimensions, including dignity, autonomy, and communication. Conclusions: Our results ranks the status of different dimensions of responsiveness as perceived by the patients and reveals those areas needing further attention to improve such as social support, autonomy, and choice of provider. The fact the younger and more educated patients expressed lower assessment of responsiveness’s dimensions in, highlights the importance of attention to the specific expectations of these groups and to maintain a high level of responsiveness in the health settings.