This research investigates the perspectives of women concerning their reproductive health care in northern Ontario. Women will be approached to complete a survey on their perceptions of care concerning their current reproductive health care. A portion of these women, who indicate their willingness at the end of the survey, will be interviewed to provide depth to the responses on the survey. Studies have shown that compliance with medical advice is directly related to the perceived quality of the service and the resulting health outcome (O’Connor, Shewchuk & Carney, 1994, Sandoval, Brown, Sullivan & Green, 2006). Service quality perceptions are critical in determining behavioural intentions (Dagger, Sweeney & Johnson, 2007). There is strong evidence to support the hypothesis that women’s perceptions of the quality of their reproductive health care effects their decisions to engage in recommended reproductive health care programs.
There is a documented need in the literature for an increased understanding of the elements that contribute to satisfaction in reproductive health care for women (Weisman, Rich, Rogers, Crawford, Grayson & Henderson, 2000). Also, under the current climate of fiscal restraint, particularly in health care, there exists interest in examining alternatives for care while maintaining quality (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 2010, Drummond, 2012). This may be realized through expanded scopes of practice for allied health care practitioners (Government of Ontario, 2012). Through my study, I am seeking improvements to the current system of reproductive health care for women in northern Ontario. I am using a combination of critical realist and feminist traditions of inquiry. The feminist approach places the women of northern Ontario at the centre of the research process and their experiences inform the analysis. Critical realism asks whether the structure of reproductive health care promotes or constrains women’s uptake of services. This study involves uncovering the mechanisms, enabling or disabling, which are producing the outcomes, uptake or lack of, in order to inform changes to the design of the reproductive health care system. Perceptions of health service quality have a positive impact on health service satisfaction and a positive impact on behavioural intentions (Dagger et al., 2007). It is postulated that by collecting information on perceptions of reproductive health service quality, improvements may be made which could increase satisfaction, leading to increased uptake of recommended reproductive health care.
This study is based around five research questions:
- How do women perceive their reproductive health care?
- How do women’s perspectives of their reproductive health care influence their use of reproductive health care services?
- What elements of a woman’s reproductive health care experience enable her to more fully engage in recommended care?
- What elements of a woman’s reproductive health care experience disable her from obtaining the services she desires or requires?
- Do women view midwifery care as an acceptable alternative to current providers or options for reproductive health care?