Reducing Follow-Up Appointments in a Mental Health Institute in Singapore: Family Medicine-Psychiatry Collaboration.


Department of Family Medicine, Sengkang GeneralHospital, 110 Sengkang East Way, Singapore [Email]


UNASSIGNED : The Institute of Mental Health (IMH), the leading tertiary psychiatric hospital in Singapore, has managed patients' psychiatric issues for decades. However, these patients' existing medical conditions often require care in subspeciality outpatient clinics of restructured hospitals. Given the need to reduce follow-up appointments in subspeciality outpatient clinics for conditions that can be managed by family physicians, a novel family medicine-psychiatry collaborative initiative between Sengkang General Hospital and IMH was implemented to address this issue.
UNASSIGNED : Data were retrospectively collected on patients with upcoming appointments who were seen by family physicians at IMH from January 2 to May 14, 2017. Patients with upcoming appointments in the subspeciality outpatient clinics were scheduled for review by family physicians. Continuous data were summarized as median (range) and count (percentage).
UNASSIGNED : At 4.5 months, 272 patients with 426 preexisting specialty appointments had been seen by family physicians. Of the specialty appointments, 150 (35.2%) were cancelled, as the conditions could be managed by family physicians. In 64 (15.0%) cases, a memo requesting transfer of care was given to the subspecialty consultant to ensure a consensus regarding the patient's management.
UNASSIGNED : Family physicians embedded in mental health institutions can reduce the need to transfer patients out of the hospital to receive care for nonpsychiatric conditions.

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