Psychiatrist, Writer, Commentator

Mailing GP reply letters after psychiatric assessment - a pilot randomised controlled trial.

Wednesday, 01st December 2010
Australian Family Physician. 39(12):959-62, 2010 Dec.
BACKGROUND: Patients are not always fully aware of the details of their assessment and management plan detailed in the letter sent from the specialist to the general practitioner following referral. One approach to solving this problem is for the specialist to copy the GP reply letter to the patient. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether receiving a copy of the GP reply letter improves outcomes in patients referred by their GP for a psychiatric assessment. METHODS: A single blinded randomised control trial comparing outcomes following a one-off consultation for a depressive and/or anxiety disorder in patients who received the GP reply letter sent from a community mental health service, to patients who did not. RESULTS: Data was collected for 21 letter recipients and 18 control participants. A significant group by time interaction found total DASS-21 scores improved to a greater extent for the letter recipient group, no significant difference in adherence was found.