J. Multidiscip. Res. Healthcare

Evolution of Responsiveness of Health System

Meenakshi Sood and Preethi Pradhan

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Responsiveness, Health Systems, Elements of Responsiveness

PUBLISHER The Author(s) 2016. This article is published with open access at www.chitkara.edu. in/publications

Responsiveness is concerned with meeting the legitimate non health expectations of patients. The paper tries to explain the concept, domains and evolution of responsiveness. WHO concept of responsiveness has been criticized for using a single composite score for comparing responsiveness between countries. In spite of recognizing these issues and after much debate, no empirical research has been undertaken. Hence there is a need to recognize what constituents of responsiveness need to be reorganized, which other elements need to be added to existing WHO proposed elements of responsiveness in culturally, socially, politically different society. The paper through extensive study on responsiveness concludes the need to tailor responsiveness domains according to citizen’s priority in a particular background.


There are three goals of health system given by World Health Organisation health, responsiveness and fairness of financing. The performance of a health system is measured on these parameters [29]. Responsiveness for any system is defined as ‘The outcome that can be achieved when institutions and institutional relationships are designed in such a way that they are cognizant and respond appropriately to the universally legitimate expectations’ [34]. Here universally legitimate term is very important as some individuals may have unrealistic expectations which should not be considered when measuring responsiveness. Responsiveness is concerned only with a person’s legitimate expectations regarding the non-health enhancing aspects of the health system as health related expectations are being taken care of in first goal of health system. For responsiveness both the distribution as well as average level of responsiveness in a country is considered important [34]. Various researchers in the past, suggested that the term ‘consumer’ should be used for patients as the user is not passive and dependent [32].Some were in favour of use of term consumer over customer as consumers’ is used for a group of individuals who can protect their rights. According to them term patient denotes powerlessness and hence does not truly depicts the relationship with professional [13].Terms which are often used along with responsiveness are quality of care and expectations [33]. Expectations are important as meeting expectations is what responsiveness is about. Also patient satisfaction which is often used to measure the quality of healthcare services is a complex mix of perceived need, expectations and experience. Quality of care is even wider. Unlike responsiveness it includes technical aspects of healthcare aspects of healthcare.

Page(s) 27–36
URL http://dspace.chitkara.edu.in/jspui/bitstream/1/794/3/31004_JMRH_sood.pdf
ISSN Print : 2393-8536, Online : 2393-8544
DOI https://doi.org/10.15415/jmrh.2016.31004

In spite of recognizing these issues and after much debate, no empirical research has been undertaken. After extensive review of existing literature we feel there is a need to reorganize or tailor the elements of responsiveness in each culturally, socially, politically different society according to the preferences of concerned population.

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