International Journal on Disability and Human Development
Official journal of the the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Israel
Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav
Editorial Board Member: Brooks, Tony / Carmeli, Eli / Dalton, Arthur J / Davidson, Philip W / Galil, Ahron / Heller, Tamar / Huff, Marlene B. / Janicki, Matthew P. / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Lindström, Bengt / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / Prasher, Vee / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Stratakis, Constantine A / Postolache, Teodor T.
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Health service utilization in patients with major depressive disorder experiencing significant somatic symptoms in Korea
1Department of Psychiatry, Seoul Paik Hospital, Inje University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
2Stress Research Institute, Inje University, Seoul, Korea
3Department of Psychiatry, Keyo Hospital, Uiwang-Si, Korea
4Department of Psychiatry, Chonbuk National University Medical School, Jeonju, Korea
5Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Ulsan University, Seoul, Korea
6Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Ewha Woman's University, Seoul, Korea
7Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Korea
8Department of Psychiatry, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Seoul, Korea
9Department of Psychiatry, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Citation Information: International Journal on Disability and Human Development. Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages 23–28, ISSN (Online) 2191-0367, ISSN (Print) 2191-1231, DOI: 10.1515/IJDHD.2010.004, November 2010
- Published Online:
Background: This study investigated the patterns of health service utilization among patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and significant somatic symptoms, who visited psychiatrists in a tertiary care setting.
Methods: A total of 211 patients (51 males and 160 females) were recruited from a convenience sampling and assessed for severity of depressive and somatic symptoms. A structured questionnaire was employed to assess their pattern of healthcare service utilization, specifically, type of treatment first sought, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and time from onset of depressive symptoms to first treatment.
Results: MDD patients with significant somatic symptoms tended to visit a non-psychiatrist physician first. Those with milder somatic symptoms who first visited non-physician practitioners spent a significantly greater amount on out-of-pocket medical expenses than did those who first visited physicians to get treatment. The patients with chief complaints of psychological and emotional symptoms were more likely to visit a psychiatrist first; however, a longer time interval lapsed before these patients received treatment.
Conclusions: Patients with MDD experiencing significant symptoms are unlikely to access appropriate services in a timely manner. The results have implications for improving health care delivery for this population.