Background: The financing function within a health system is considered inherently complex, so it is of utmost importance to design a suitable future for this system given uncertainties and complexities of the environment. With regard to the current and future complicated conditions, health system financing is also likely to succeed if it can anticipate the impacts of effective factors in the future and further plan appropriate interventions ahead of time. Thus, the purpose of this study was to develop scenarios for the health system financing in Iran.
Methods: This mixed-design research of exploratory future studies type was conducted using the scenario method. In this respect, the key variables were evaluated using a questionnaire from two aspects of importance and uncertainty as well as formation of a future studies group (focus group). Finally, sensitivity analysis was carried out through cross-impact balance (CIB) analysis using the Scenario Wizard (Version 4.31) software.
Results: A total of 25 factors were selected based on the type and the position of the variables (driving force, bi-dimensional, risk, secondary leverage or modifiable-to-secondary leverage) over the diameter of the MICMAC chart. Considering the degree of significance and uncertainty, eight variables including all four driving force variables (oil sales and economic blockade, leadership and advocacy, bureaucracy and corruption, and possibility of using information technology in providing services), as well as the variables of resource sustainability, natural disasters, regional security, and specialization culture were chosen. Then, five variables were finalized as the key changes that would create the scenario based on sensitivity analysis and final expert opinions. According to the defined conditions, 270 scenarios were developed, of which fourteen scenarios were identified as poorly adaptable and five cases as highly adaptable.
Conclusion: The best scenario identified in this study based on the degree of adaptation included the use of massive technology and oil sales, mediocre economic conditions with high probability of occurrence, strong leadership and advocacy, high regional security, as well as bureaucracy and low corruption with medium probability of occurrence.