Schizophrenia in the Netherlands: Continuity of Care with Better Quality of Care for Less Medical Costs


Continuous elective mental and somatic care for 73% of the patients with schizophrenia showed better quality of care at lower costs. Providing continuous elective care to the remaining patients may improve health while reducing acute illness episodes.


Patients with schizophrenia need continuous elective medical care which includes psychiatric treatment, antipsychotic medication and somatic health care. The objective of this study is to assess whether continuous elective psychiatric is associated with less health care costs due to less inpatient treatment.


Data concerning antipsychotic medication and psychiatric and somatic health care of patients with schizophrenia in the claims data of Agis Health Insurance were collected over 2008–2011 in the Netherlands. Included were 7,392 patients under 70 years of age with schizophrenia in 2008, insured during the whole period. We assessed the relationship between continuous elective psychiatric care and the outcome measures: acute treatment events, psychiatric hospitalization, somatic care and health care costs.


Continuous elective psychiatric care was accessed by 73% of the patients during the entire three year follow-up period. These patients received mostly outpatient care and accessed more somatic care, at a total cost of €36,485 in three years, than those without continuous care. In the groups accessing fewer or no years of elective care 34%-68% had inpatient care and acute treatment events, while accessing less somatic care at average total costs of medical care from €33,284 to €64,509.


Maybe things have changed since 2011 - I didn’t enjoy psychiatric care prior to early 2013 - but this continuous care seems no longer the standard here in the Netherlands, not straightforwardly so that is. At set times, I’d assess together with my psychiatrist when would be the right time to be dispatched to the GP for my mental Healthcare - contrary to the situation sketched in the article. And reasonably so, I would say, the decision to proceed with continous, expensive, care should, I think, be an informed one.