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J Prev Med Public Health ; 56(3): 248-254, 2023 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236418


OBJECTIVES: Measuring the quality of care is paramount to inform policies for healthcare services. Nevertheless, little is known about the quality of primary care and acute care provided in Korea. This study investigated trends in the quality of primary care and acute care. METHODS: Case-fatality rates and avoidable hospitalization rates were used as performance indicators to assess the quality of primary care and acute care. Admission data for the period 2008 to 2020 were extracted from the National Health Insurance Claims Database. Case-fatality rates and avoidable hospitalization rates were standardized by age and sex to adjust for patients' characteristics over time, and significant changes in the rates were identified by joinpoint regression. RESULTS: The average annual percent change in age-/sex-standardized case-fatality rates for acute myocardial infarction was -2.3% (95% confidence interval, -4.6 to 0.0). For hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke, the age-/sex-standardized case-fatality rates were 21.8% and 5.9%, respectively in 2020; these rates decreased since 2008 (27.1 and 8.7%, respectively). The average annual percent change in age-/sex-standardized avoidable hospitalization rates ranged from -9.4% to -3.0%, with statistically significant changes between 2008 and 2020. In 2020, the avoidable hospitalization rates decreased considerably compared with the 2019 rate because of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: The avoidable hospitalization rates and case-fatality rates decreased overall during the past decade, but they were relatively high compared with other countries. Strengthening primary care is an essential requirement to improve patient health outcomes in the rapidly aging Korean population.

COVID-19 , Humans , Cross-Sectional Studies , COVID-19/epidemiology , Hospitalization , Primary Health Care , Republic of Korea/epidemiology
Epidemiol Health ; 45: e2023022, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2266457


OBJECTIVES: The present study examined the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on mental health service utilization through a comparative analysis of nationwide data regarding inpatient care users, outpatient visits, emergency department (ED) visits, and admissions via the ED before and during the pandemic. METHODS: Data from approximately 350,000 Koreans diagnosed with mental illness were analyzed in terms of hospitalization, outpatient visits, and ED visits between January 2018 and June 2021. An interrupted time series analysis was conducted to determine the significance of changes in mental health service utilization indicators. RESULTS: The number of hospital admissions per patient decreased by 1.2% at the start of the pandemic and 0.7% afterward. The length of hospital stay increased by 1.8% at the outbreak of the pandemic, and then decreased by 20.2%. Although the number of outpatients increased, the number of outpatient visits per patient decreased; the number of outpatient visits for schizophrenia (3.4%) and bipolar disorder (3.5%) significantly decreased immediately post-outbreak. The number of ED visits per patient decreased both immediately post-outbreak and afterward, and ED visits for schizophrenia (19.2%), bipolar disorder (22.3%), and depression (17.4%) decreased significantly immediately post-outbreak. Admissions via the ED did not show a significant change immediately post-outbreak. CONCLUSIONS: Mental health service utilization increased during the pandemic, but medical service use decreased overall, with a particularly significant decrease in ED utilization. As the pandemic worsened, the decline in outpatient visits became more pronounced among those with severe mental illness.

COVID-19 , Mental Health Services , Patient Acceptance of Health Care , Patient Admission , Pandemics , Republic of Korea/epidemiology , Retrospective Studies , Mental Health