A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis to Evaluate a System Change in Mental Healthcare in the Netherlands for Patients with Depression or Anxiety

Adm Policy Ment Health. 2018 Jul;45(4):530-537. doi: 10.1007/s10488-017-0842-x.


Over the last decade, the Dutch mental healthcare system has been subject to profound policy reforms, in order to achieve affordable, accessible, and high quality care. One of the adjustments was to substitute part of the specialized care for general mental healthcare. Using a quasi-experimental design, we compared the cost-effectiveness of patients in the new setting with comparable patients from specialized mental healthcare in the old setting. Results showed that for this group of patients the average cost of treatment was significantly reduced by, on average, €2132 (p < 0.001), with similar health outcomes as in the old system.

Keywords: Anxiety; Cost-effectiveness; Depression.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care / economics
  • Ambulatory Care / organization & administration
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / economics*
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Young Adult