Robbie Foy, MBChB, PhD; Susanne Hempel, PhD; Lisa Rubenstein, MD, MSPH; Marika Suttorp, MS; Michelle Seelig, MD, MSHS; Roberta Shanman, MLS; Paul G. Shekelle, MD, PhD
Acknowledgment: The authors thank Breanne Johnsen, Jason Carter, Martha Timmer, and Aneesa Motala for their administrative and analytical support and Martin Roland, DM, and Michael Von Korff, ScD, for their comments and suggestions on earlier versions of the manuscript.
Potential Conflicts of Interest: Disclosures can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M09-0612.
Requests for Single Reprints: Robbie Foy, MBChB, PhD, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, Charles Thackrah Building, University of Leeds, 101 Clarendon Road, Leeds LS2 9LJ, United Kingdom; e-mail, email@example.com.
Current Author Addresses: Dr. Foy: Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, Charles Thackrah Building, University of Leeds, 101 Clarendon Road, Leeds LS2 9LJ, United Kingdom.
Drs. Hempel and Shekelle and Ms. Suttorp: Evidence-based Practice Center, RAND Health, 1776 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90407.
Dr. Rubenstein: RAND Health, 1776 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90407.
Dr. Seelig: Clinical Knowledge Development and Support, 201 16th Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98112.
Ms. Shanman: RAND Corporation Library, 1776 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90407.
Author Contributions: Conception and design: R. Foy, S. Hempel, L. Rubenstein, M. Seelig, P.G. Shekelle.
Analysis and interpretation of the data: R. Foy, S. Hempel, L. Rubenstein, M. Suttorp, P.G. Shekelle.
Drafting of the article: R. Foy, S. Hempel, L. Rubenstein, M. Suttorp, P.G. Shekelle.
Critical revision of the article for important intellectual content: R. Foy, S. Hempel, L. Rubenstein, M. Seelig, P.G. Shekelle.
Final approval of the article: R. Foy, S. Hempel, L. Rubenstein, M. Suttorp, M. Seelig, P.G. Shekelle.
Provision of study materials or patients: R. Foy.
Statistical expertise: M. Suttorp.
Obtaining of funding: R. Foy, P.G. Shekelle.
Administrative, technical, or logistic support: S. Hempel, L. Rubenstein.
Collection and assembly of data: R. Foy, S. Hempel, L. Rubenstein, M. Suttorp, R. Shanman.
Foy R, Hempel S, Rubenstein L, Suttorp M, Seelig M, Shanman R, et al. Meta-analysis: Effect of Interactive Communication Between Collaborating Primary Care Physicians and Specialists. Ann Intern Med. 2010;152:247-258. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-152-4-201002160-00010
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2010;152(4):247-258.
Whether collaborative care models that enable interactive communication (timely, 2-way exchange of pertinent clinical information directly between primary care and specialist physicians) improve patient outcomes is uncertain.
To assess the effects of interactive communication between collaborating primary care physicians and key specialists on outcomes for patients receiving ambulatory care.
PubMed, PsycInfo, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, and Web of Science through June 2008 and secondary references, with no language restriction.
Studies that evaluated the effects of interactive communication between collaborating primary care physicians and specialists on outcomes for patients with diabetes, psychiatric conditions, or cancer.
Contextual, intervention, and outcome data from 23 studies were extracted by one reviewer and checked by another. Study quality was assessed with a 13-item checklist. Disagreement was resolved by consensus. Main outcomes for analysis were selected by reviewers who were blinded to study results.
Meta-analysis indicated consistent effects across 11 randomized mental health studies (pooled effect size, âˆ’0.41 [95% CI, âˆ’0.73 to âˆ’0.10]), 7 nonrandomized mental health studies (pooled effect size, âˆ’0.47 [CI, âˆ’0.84 to âˆ’0.09]), and 5 nonrandomized diabetes studies (pooled effect size, âˆ’0.64 [CI, âˆ’0.93 to âˆ’0.34]). These findings remained robust to sensitivity analyses. Meta-regression indicated studies that included interventions to enhance the quality of information exchange had larger effects on patient outcomes than those that did not (âˆ’0.84 vs. âˆ’0.27; PÂ = 0.002).
Because collaborative interventions were inherently multifaceted, the efficacy of interactive communication by itself cannot be established. Inclusion of study designs with lower internal validity increased risk for bias. No studies involved oncologists.
Consistent and clinically important effects suggest a potential role of interactive communication for improving the effectiveness of primary careâ€“specialist collaboration.
RAND Health's Comprehensive Assessment of Reform Options Initiative, the Veterans Affairs Center for the Study of Provider Behavior, The Commonwealth Fund, and the Health Foundation.
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Cardiology, Endocrine and Metabolism, Hematology/Oncology, Diabetes, Healthcare Delivery and Policy.
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