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Private or public dental care? Patients' perception and experience in Lithuania

Private or public dental care? Patients' perception and experience in Lithuania

Medicina 44(10): 805-811

To compare demographic and social groups of patients, their satisfaction with services in public and private dental institutions. A random sample of 3000 Lithuanian residents was selected; 1801 participants answered a postal questionnaire. The response rate was 60.0%. Univariate analysis, chi(2) criterion, z-test, and multiple logistic regression were used to evaluate the association between institution type, demographic and social characteristics of the respondents. RESULTS. Less than half of Lithuanian residents (41.2%) visited public dental institutions, 35.9%--private, 25.9%--both. They preferred private dental sector due to better quality of service, public--due to closeness to residence or being the treatment place of acquaintances. Patients visiting public institutions required cheaper treatment, while patients visiting private institutions--qualitative, though more expensive, using modern technologies. The number of dental visits in the past year was lower in public institutions than in private ones. The majority of patients treated in public, private, and both institutions were satisfied with dental services. The least satisfied were visiting both institutions. More respondents with secondary and lower education used public services as compared to those with higher education. Urban population visited public institutions more often than rural population. Respondents with a monthly income of less than 500 Lt for one family member used public dental services more often than those receiving a higher income. Older patients visited public dental institutions more often than younger ones. CONCLUSIONS. More Lithuanian residents are treated in public dental institutions (up to 67.1%) than in private. Older, receiving lower income patients preferred public institutions. The majority of patients in public clinics as well as in private sector are satisfied with the service. Those who visited both types of institutions were least satisfied with dental services.

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Accession: 055187469

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PMID: 19001839

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