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Soc Sci Med. 2006 Mar;62(5):1229-36. Epub 2005 Sep 12.

Healthcare in the New Vietnam: comparing patients' satisfaction with outpatient care in a traditional neighborhood clinic and a new, western-style clinic in Ho Chi Minh City.

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  • 1School of Medicine, University of Washington, Box 356340, A-300, Health Sciences, Seattle, WA 98195-6340, USA.


As Vietnam opens its economy to privatization, its system of healthcare will face a series of crucial tests. Vietnam's system of private healthcare--once comprised only of individual physicians holding clinic hours in their homes--has come to also include larger customer-oriented clinics based on an American business model. As the two models compete in the expanding private market, it becomes increasingly important to understand patients' perceptions of the alternative models of care. This study reports on interviews with 194 patients in two different types of private-sector clinics in Vietnam: a western-style clinic and a traditional style, after-hours clinic. In bivariate and multivariate analyses, we found that patients at the western style clinic reported both higher expectations of the facility and higher satisfaction with many aspects of care than patients at the after-hours clinic. These different perceptions appear to be based on the interpersonal manner of the physician seen and the clinic's delivery methods rather than perceptions of the physician's technical skill and method of treatment. These findings were unaffected by the ethnicity of physician seen. These findings suggest that patients in Vietnam recognize and prefer more customer-oriented care and amenities, regardless of physician ethnicity and perceive no significant differences in technical skill between the private delivery models.

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