Strategies of collaboration between general practitioners and psychiatrists: a survey of practitioners' opinions and characteristics

Can J Psychiatry. 2002 Oct;47(8):750-8. doi: 10.1177/070674370204700806.


Background: The description of collaboration models and the key underlying principles provide important information for designing services. However, to apply this broad corpus of information to clinical services and policymaking, we need to know which key principles (or strategies) of collaboration are the most accepted by local physicians.

Method: In this context, we designed a survey that included 2 objectives: 1) to collect the opinions of practising general practitioners (GPs) and psychiatrists in Montreal with respect to strategies for improving collaboration between these 2 groups and 2) to identify demographic and practice characteristics of those physicians associated with the acceptance of such strategies. We designed a questionnaire to specifically elicit physicians' opinions about strategies involving communication, continuing medical education (CME) for GPs in psychiatry, and access to consulting psychiatrists, as well as to identify the profiles of the respondent physicians. We mailed the questionnaire to 203 GPs and 203 psychiatrists who were randomly selected.

Results: The response rate was 86% for GPs and 87% for psychiatrists. Physicians expressed favourable opinions about most strategies involving 1) the improvement of communication and 2) the organization of CME activities concerning GP practices in the field of psychiatry. On the other hand, they did not indicate acceptance of the strategies involving on-site collaboration between GPs and psychiatrists. Physician age, sex, place of practice, type of practice (such as seeing patients with or without appointments), and responsibility for administrative duties associated significantly with the degree of acceptance of the proposed strategies.

Conclusion: Communication and CME strategies for GPs in psychiatry can be an option to improve collaboration between GPs and psychiatrists. However, strategies of access to consulting psychiatrists require significant alterations to established clinical routines and professional roles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Canada
  • Communication
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Family Practice* / education
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Psychiatry*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires