ISSN online: 2221-1616

Bulletin of the Institute of Sociology (Vestnik instituta sotziologii)

Research Article

Mikhail L. Malyshev, Doctor of Sociology, Professor, main researcher, ,
Svetlana N. Varlamova , head of the education and training center, ,
Getting access to medical care: public demand for health care services.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2013. Vol. 4. No. 1. P. 48-66

This Article is downloaded: 764 times
Topic: Health of the population

For citation:
Malyshev M. L., Varlamova S. N. Getting access to medical care: public demand for health care services. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2013. Vol. 4. No. 1. P. 48-66


The article reviews the dynamics of how Russians tended to evaluate their own health from 2005 to 2010, including the analysis of different social, demographic, and income groups. We believe that this research is important because the health of each individual citizen defines the resilience and very survival of the whole nation. Furthermore, health is one of the key elements of labor force potential. What we require is data that could facilitate the creation of a time-sensitive information and analysis system that would objectively reflect the nature and development trends of various processes in the healthcare system. The chief purpose of this study is to provide government authorities and administrative bodies with such information. When managed in a timely manner, this information could help design an appropriate social policy, aimed at making high-quality healthcare more accessible to all social groups. As we analyze the results of nationwide surveys, we review the general accessibility of targeted healthcare services by professionals with a narrow specialization within the health insurance system, as well as study the use of fee-based and free healthcare services. In addition, we consider how Russians themselves describe their health. This has allowed us to reveal a direct correlation between the respondents’ education level and evaluation of their own health: the higher the education, the more likely the respondents are to look at their health positively. We have also looked at the timeliness of reaching out for qualified medical aid. It bears paying attention to the group of “poor” respondents, characterized by the highest share of people who refuse medical aid even when they are sick. This study touches upon the use of healthcare institutions’ services. The quality of medical aid is one of the factors that are essential for ensuring public health. However, the quality of free healthcare that is available to the majority of Russians is described as satisfactory only by one half of the respondents that seek aid at public healthcare institutions. And even though the scope of services offered by fee-based healthcare is far from comprehensive, we have reason to assume that, as their quality of life increases, Russians are going to rely on such services more consistently. Moreover, our study includes an evaluation of the quality of services provided by maternity welfare centers, maternity clinics, and maternity wards of the city/municipal hospitals. We have used a streamlined set of criteria that have allowed us to compare and contrast the activities of such facilities.


health, health self-assessment, state of health change, desease incidence, public demand for medical services, refusal to claim medical services