Healthcare Services Expenditure: A Case Study in Isfahan Province, Iran

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Background: Determining and understanding of healthcare costs and its financing method is one of the most important subjects understatement of which can cause such major problems as excessive health costs for households due to the high rate of out-of-pocket expenses. Objectives: The current study aimed to analyze the healthcare costs and determine the share of Isfahan province, Iran, from the total healthcare costs of the country from 2006 to 2011. Materials and Methods: It was a retrospective and descriptive-analytical study. The required statistical data were gathered from statistical yearbooks of the country and the province, the website of the World Bank, the statistics provided by the Healthcare Department of Isfahan and Kashan Universities of Medical Sciences and the statistical data provided by Iran Statistics Center in 2011, all covering the period of six years from 2006 to 2011. Excel software was used for data analysis and computations of the research. Results: During this period, the annual growth average of healthcare and treatment costs were 12% and 20%, respectively. The share of the healthcare sector declined from 33% in 2006 to 25.4% in 2011. In other words, healthcare cost per capita, being about one second of the treatment cost per capita, reduced to a third of treatment per capita in 2011. Conclusions: Efficient allocation of financial resources in the healthcare system based on specific goals and strategies, coordination of public and private sectors in providing healthcare services, the rising share of the healthcare sector in GDP of the province and the country, and the preference of prevention over treatment measures can affect achieving the healthcare system goals and surmount challenges such as pay-out-of-pocket and rising healthcare costs, particularly the costs of integrated treatment with full performance.