Ten-year trends in depression care in Taiwan

Hsiao Han Wang, Chia Ming Chang, Shu Sen Chang, Albert C. Yang, Yi Hung Liu, Shih Cheng Liao, Chi Shin Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background/Purpose: The number of psychiatrists working in community clinics in Taiwan has increased dramatically in the recent decade. This study aimed to investigate the trend of prevalence and incidence of depressive disorders and assess the quality of depression care between 2007 and 2016 in Taiwan. Methods: We used the claims database derived from Taiwan's National Health Insurance (NHI) program, in which approximately 23.0 million individuals were enrolled, translating to a coverage rate of 99%. Patients with depressive disorders were identified based on International Classification of Diseases codes. The process indicators of depression care quality included visit, duration, and dose adequacy. The outcome indicators included the rate of psychiatric hospitalisation, emergency visit, self-harm hospitalisation, and suicide. Results: The prevalence of treated depressive disorders increased from 1.61% in 2007 to 1.92% in 2016, i.e., a 25% increase, whereas the incidence of first-ever or recurrent depressive disorder did not change significantly. The number of patients treated by psychiatrists and in community clinics also increased. The quality of depression care improved, the proportion of patients receiving minimum psychiatric clinic follow-up and adequate medication increased, and the rate of emergency visits, psychiatric hospitalisation, and self-harm hospitalisation declined. Conclusions: The community-based psychiatric services increased and the quality indicators of depression care in Taiwan improved during 2007–2016. The causality warrants further investigations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Formosan Medical Association
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Depression
  • Psychiatrist density
  • Quality of health care
  • Taiwan
  • Trends


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