Objectives Over the past two decades, debates on whether the profit status of dialysis facilities influences patient prognosis have been popular in the USA. Taiwan is one of the regions with the highest rate per capita of kidney replacement therapy worldwide, but no similar research has been conducted to date. This is the first study to address this issue. Design This was a nationwide retrospective cohort study based on the Taiwan Renal Registry Data System. Setting Patients were categorised into two groups based on the profit status (for-profit, not-for-profit (NFP)) of dialysis facilities, with 31 350 patients in each group. The patients were followed up from 2005 to 2012. Participants Patients with uraemia who underwent long-term haemodialysis in private dialysis facilities and public facilities were excluded. Primary and secondary outcome measures Survival analyses were performed to compare prognosis between the two groups. Adjustments to patients' basic profile, and facilities' geographical distribution, level, and length of ownership were carried out to minimise possible confounding effects. Results Analysis revealed that NFP dialysis facilities had better outcomes (HR=0.91, 95% CI (0.89 to 0.93)). A favourable effect remains with the adjustment of the facilities' level, geographical distribution (HR=0.89, 95% CI (0.86 to 0.93)) or length of ownership (HR=0.95, 95% CI (0.89 to 0.95)). Survival analysis based on the geographical distribution and level of facilities was also conducted, which showed better prognosis in medical centres in the six municipalities, whereas worse prognosis was found in local hospitals not located in these municipalities. Conclusion Our findings suggest that in contemporary settings in Taiwan, treatment at NFP dialysis facilities was associated with a better prognosis. The results should be interpreted with caution since the possibility of residual confounding effects and uncertainty of casual relations exist due to the nature of observational studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere045832
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2 2021


  • chronic renal failure
  • dialysis
  • end stage renal failure
  • health economics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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