A comprehensive and critical view of conceptual models for access to health services, 1970-2013

Cad. Saúde Pública vol.32 no.5 Rio de Janeiro  2016  Epub May 17, 2016
Published online: May 2016


The aim of this study was to critically analyze various conceptual models on access to health services described in the literature from 1970 to 2013. A systematic review was conducted on applied and theoretical research publications that explicitly conceptualized access to health services. The review included 25 articles that met the study’s objectives. The analysis used a matrix containing the conceptual model’s logic and its description. Access to health services was classified in five categories: (i) decent minimums, (ii) market-driven, (iii) factors and multicausality, (iv) needs-based, and (v) social justice and the right to health. The study concludes that the predominant concept of access in the literature has been the market logic of medical care services, linked to the logic of factors and multicausality. Meanwhile, no conceptual model was found for access to health services based explicitly on social justice and the right to health.

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