Closing the gaps in defining and conceptualising acceptability of healthcare: a qualitative thematic content analysis

  • Joy Blaise Bucyibaruta
  • Doriccah Peu
  • Lesley Bamford
  • Annatjie van der Wath
Keywords: Defining and conceptualising acceptability; healthcare; content analysis.


Introduction: Despite the importance of healthcare acceptability, the public health community has yet to agree on its explicit definition and conceptual framework. We explored different definitions and conceptual frameworks of healthcare acceptability, and identified commonalities in order to develop an integrated definition and conceptual framework of healthcare acceptability.

Materials and Methods: We applied qualitative thematic content analysis on research articles that attempted to define healthcare acceptability. We searched online databases and purposefully selected relevant articles that we imported into ATLAS.ti 8.4 for deductive and inductive analysis which continued until there were no new information emerging from selected documents (data saturation).

Results: Our analysis of the literature affirmed that healthcare acceptability remains poorly defined; limiting its application in public health. We proposed a practical definition attempting to fill identified gaps. We defined acceptability as a “multi-construct concept describing the nonlinear cumulative combination in parts or in whole of the fit between the expected and experienced healthcare from the patient, provider or healthcare systems and policy perspectives in a given context.”

Practice Implications: We presented and described a workable definition and framework of healthcare acceptability that can be applied to different actors including patients, healthcare providers, researchers, managers or policy makers.

Keywords: Defining and conceptualising acceptability; healthcare; content analysis.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1729-0503
print ISSN: 1680-6905