Implementation challenges of family physician program: A systematic review on global evidence

Roghayeh Mohammadibakhsh, Aidin Aryankhesal, Rahim Sohrabi, Samira Alihosseini, Masoud Behzadifar

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Background: The family physician program, as one of the core arms of health care systems, has faced various implementation challenges around the world. Experiences in the implementation of family physician program can be helpful for nations that seek to apply for similar programs. The aim of this study is to systematically review the implementation challenges of family physician program across the world. Methods: A systematic search was conducted from January 2000 to February 2022 across scientific databases of Embase, MEDLINE, Web of Science, Scopus, CINAHL, EBSCO, and Google Scholar. The Framework approach was used to analyze the selected studies. The quality of the included studies was evaluated using the McMaster Critical Review Form for qualitative studies. Results: 35 studies upon the study inclusion criteria were included. Based on the Six Building Blocks frame, seven themes and 21 subthemes were developed as the implementation challenges of family physician program. 1) Governance: policy guidance, intelligence, coalition, regulation, system design, and accountability; 2) Financing: financing and payment system; 3) Health workforce: education, research, recruitment and motivation opportunities; 4) Service delivery: management of health services, service package, referral system, continuity of care; 5) Health information systems: production and evaluating the health information system; 6) Availability: provision basic health services, maintenance of facilities; and 7) Cultural considerations: behavior and social determinants of health. Conclusion: Scientific governance, financing, and payment mechanisms, workforce empowerment, designing a strong health information system, and providing access to services with cultural considerations can result in the successful implementation of the family physician program in communities

Original languageEnglish
Article number21
JournalMedical Journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Family physician program
  • Health Policy
  • Health systems
  • Six Building Blocks
  • Systematic review

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