Descriptive Study of Economic Behavior of General Practitioners in Iran: Practice Income, Hours of Work, and Patient Visits

Mohsen Bayati, Arash Rashidian

Abstract


Background: Although there is a critical need for information on economic performance of
Iranian general practitioners (GPs) in health policymaking, there is not any scientific evidence
in this area. Therefore, in the present report, the characteristics of economic behaviors of Iranian
GPs were described.

Methods: This was a cross‑sectional study in 2015, in which the data were
collected from 666 GPs. The variables including monthly gross income, hours of work, and patient
visits were studied as the measures of economic behavior of GPs. Descriptive statistics, t‑test,
and Analysis of Variance were used for analyzing the data. The statistical analysis was performed
by STATA12.

Results: The annual income of the GPs understudy was 26,000 US dollar (USD)
(82,680 purchasing power parity [PPP]). The ratio of this value to gross domestic product per capita
and minimum wage of Iran in 2015 was 4.8 and 9.2, respectively. On average, every GP in Iran has
an income of 2188.1 USD (6958.16 PPP), works 142 h, and visits an average of 494 patients/month.
The results showed that the economic behavior of Iranian GPs has a significant difference in
terms of gender, age, marital status, practice experience, practice location, type of practice, being
a family physicians, and working in different settings (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: The Iranian GPs
understudy work less than their counterparts in other (compared) countries. The studied GPs had a
higher income (adjusted by hours of work and countries’ per capita income) than their counterparts
in other (studied) countries. Moreover, there are inequalities between GPs in terms of income, the
volume of services provided and the work hours.

Keywords: Family practice, general practitioners, health‑care economics and organizations, office
visits, private practice


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