COMPETITIVENESS OF PHYSICIAN PRACTICES IN LATVIA

Anita Racene, Anda Zvaigzne, Jānis Kaktiņš

Abstract


Human health is the most significant factor that influences the life quality of individuals. The first level of health care faced by any individual is a family physician, therefore, the availability of family physicians is of great importance. Primary health care is the key component of national health care system in providing health care. The tasks of primary health care are as follows promotion of health, prevention of diseases, treatment of diseases, rehabilitation. As regards providing health care services in the regions of Latvia, regional differences increase in this respect; in some places the situation may be regarded even as critical. The availability and quality of services is often inappropriate. To increase the accessibility of physician practices, new ways of improving the performance of physician practices in Latvia have to be searched for. One of the ways is to increase the competitiveness of physician practices to ensure sustainability in the performance of physician practices, which results in providing quality services to local residents as well as foreigners.

The paper gives a definition for the nature of competitiveness and characteristics of physician practices in Latvia, and the competitiveness factors of physician practice are identified and assessed. The research object is services of physician practices in Latvia. Hypothesis: performance of physician practices is affected by both exogenous and endogenous factors of competitiveness. The research aim is to investigate the basic factors determining and limiting the competitiveness of physician practices and to identify priorities for increasing the competitiveness of physician practices in Latvia. To achieve the aim, the following research tasks were set: to characterise and assess primary health care in Latvia, to identify the key basic factors that determine and limit the competitiveness of physician practices, and to identify measures preventing the basic factors that limit the competitiveness of physician practices.

To achieve the aim, the method of expert evaluation was employed. The following research methods were employed for studying the legal framework and developing proposals for its improvement: the abstract and logical methods, the monographic method, analysis and synthesis, and the calculation and constructive methods. For analysis of statistical data, statistical methods such as descriptive statistics and correlation analysis were employed. A sociological research method – questionnaire surveying – was used for identifying problems of physician practices.Finally, it was concluded that the key competitiveness factors are: qualifications of both managers of physician practices and their staff, use of medical and other modern technologies at physician practices, prices of services, location and accessibility, and government policy. The main factors limiting the competitiveness of physician practices and their prevention measures were identified. The main measures are as follows: provision of the accessibility of physician practices in rural areas by means of local government support, introduction of e-consultations or electronic consultancy via e-mail, as it enables patients to receive a consultation of specialist at a distance, setting an optimal number of patients per physician practice, planning the training of resident physicians, thus attracting new physicians for the profession of family physician, and expansion of physician practices with other medical specialists to increase the quality of health care services and cooperation among physician practices.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5755/j01.eis.0.6.1497


Keywords


patient; health care; physician practice; competitiveness

Full Text: PDF

Print ISSN: 1822-8402
Online ISSN: 2335-8831