Outpatient follow-up visit after hospital discharge lowers risk of rehospitalization in patients with Schizophrenia: A nationwide population-based study

Seung Yup Lee, Kyoung Hoon Kim, Tae Kim, Sun Min Kim, Jong Woo Kim, Changsu Han, Ji Young Song, Jong Woo Paik

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Non-adherence to medication is a recognized problem in psychiatric patients and may be one of the most challenging aspects of treatment for patients with schizophrenia. Failure of follow-up care after discharge greatly increases non-adherence to prescribed medications, relapse and rehospitalization. However, it is still unknown whether and how much outpatient follow-up visits can mitigate the risk of rehospitalization. Therefore we sought to investigate the continuity and effectiveness of outpatient care after inpatient discharge and its effect on rehospitalization of patients with schizophrenia. Methods Data were extracted from National Health Insurance Claim Database covering the period from 2007 through 2010. We identified 10,246 patients aged 18 years or older who were admitted in psychiatric facilities with the diagnosis of schizophrenia between January 1 and December 31 in 2007. The number of outpatient visits within 60 days after discharge from index admission was defined as the indicator for the continuous care and rehospitalization was inspected during the following 36-month period. Cox’s proportional hazard model was used to examine the factors affecting the risk of rehospitalization including the number of outpatient visits, age, sex, comorbidities, antipsychotics, and characteristics of medical institution. Results We found that 12.7% (n=1,327) of the patients visited psychiatric outpatient department once within 60 days after hospital discharge, 34.8% (n=3,626) twice, and 27.8% (n=2,900) more than three times. Patients taking atypical antipsychotics showed higher proportion in 2 or more outpatient visits, whereas patients taking typical antipsychotics showed higher proportion in one or no outpatient visits. Cox hazard ratios of rehospitalization for the factor of 3 or more outpatient visits referenced to that of no follow-up visit were 0.567 (0.428–0.750, 95% confidence interval) within 90 days, 0.673 (0.574–0.789) within 180 days, 0.800 (0.713–0.898) within a year, 0.906 (0.824–0.997) within 2 years, and 0.993 (0.910–1.084) within 3 years. Conclusion Although continuous outpatient treatment is important for relapse prevention, patients with schizophrenia showed a low rate of outpatient visit as 62.6% of total patients in 2 or more visits within 60 days after discharge. Lack of follow-up treatment might lead to increase psychotic symptoms and raised risk of relapse and rehospitalization. Our data suggest that the number of outpatient visits within 60 days after discharge in patients with schizophrenia is an important indicator of rehospitalization within a year. Therefore, further efforts to examine factors affecting failure of outpatient follow-up after discharge are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-433
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatry Investigation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 1



  • Health insurance
  • Outpatient visits
  • Rehospitalization
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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