Public satisfaction as a measure of health system performance: a study of nine countries in the former Soviet Union

Health Policy. 2013 Sep;112(1-2):62-9. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2013.03.004. Epub 2013 Mar 30.


Measurement of health system performance increasingly includes the views of healthcare users, yet little research has focussed on general population satisfaction with health systems. This study is the first to examine public satisfaction with health systems in the former Soviet Union (fSU). Data were derived from two related studies conducted in 2001 and 2010 in nine fSU countries, using nationally representative cross-sectional surveys. The prevalence of health system satisfaction in each country was compared for 2001 and 2010. Patterns of satisfaction were further examined by comparing satisfaction with the health system and other parts of the public sector, and the views of health care users and non-users. Potential determinants of population satisfaction were explored using logistic regression. For all countries combined, the level of satisfaction with health systems increased from 19.4% in 2001 to 40.6% in 2010, but varied considerably by country. Changes in satisfaction with the health system were similar to changes with the public sector, and non-users of healthcare were slightly more likely to report satisfaction than users. Characteristics associated with higher satisfaction include younger age, lower education, higher economic status, rural residency, better health status, and higher levels of political trust. Our results suggest that satisfaction can provide useful insight into public opinion on health system performance, particularly when used in conjunction with other subjective measures of satisfaction with government performance.

Keywords: Former Soviet Union; Health systems; Performance; Satisfaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Public Opinion*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Russia
  • USSR
  • Young Adult