Referrals to Psychiatrists

Assessing the Communication Interface Between Psychiatry and Primary Care

Published in: Psychosomatics, v. 41, no. 3, May-June 2000, p. 245-252

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1999

by Terri Tanielian, Harold Alan Pincus, Allen J. Dietrich, John W. Williams, Jr., Thomas E. Oxman, Paul Nutting, Steven C. Marcus

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The Study of Outpatient Referral Patterns was conducted in 1998 to examine the nature of the communication relationship between psychiatrists and primary care physicians regarding outpatient referrals. Nationally representative psychiatrists were surveyed (N = 542) regarding their aggregate experience with outpatient referrals from non-psychiatric physicians in the previous 60 days. Data regarding frequency and type of information and mode of communication were gathered. Results indicate that primary care physicians represent a significant source of referrals to psychiatrists and that psychiatrists are generally satisfied with the communication interface with the referring physicians. Psychiatrists' level of satisfaction was related to the quantity and quality of information provided by referring physicians.

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