Choice of primary care provider: results from a population survey in three Swedish counties

Health Policy. 2011 Nov;103(1):31-7. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2011.05.014. Epub 2011 Jun 24.


Recent reforms in Swedish primary care have involved choice of provider for the population combined with freedom of establishment and privatisation of providers. This study focus to what extent individuals feel they have exercised a choice of provider, why they exercise choice and where they search for information, based on a population survey in three Swedish counties. The design of the study enabled for studying behaviour with respect to differences in time since introduction of the reform and differences in number of alternative providers and establishments of new providers in connection with the reform. About 60% of the population in the three counties felt that they had made a choice of provider in connection with or after the introduction of a reform focusing on choice and privatisation. Establishments of new providers and having enough information increased the likelihood whereas preferences for direct access to a specialist decreased the likelihood of making a choice. The data further suggests that individuals were rather passive in their search for information and tended to choose providers that they previously had been in contact with. This is in line with results from previous studies and poses challenges for county councils governance of reforms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Physicians, Primary Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Young Adult