Knowledge transfer and improvement of primary and ambulatory care for patients with anxiety

Mirrian Smolders, Miranda Laurant, Pasquale Roberge, Anton Van Balkom, Eric Van Rijswijk, Peter Bower, Richard Grol

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objective: To summarize current evidence on the effectiveness of different knowledge transfer and change interventions for improving primary and ambulatory anxiety care to provide guidance to professionals and policy-makers in mental health care. Method: We searched electronic medical and psychological databases, conducted correspondence with authors, and checked reference lists. Studies examining the effectiveness of knowledge transfer and interventions targeted at improvement of the recognition or management of anxiety in primary and ambulatory health care settings were included. Methodological details and outcomes were independently extracted and checked by 2 reviewers. Where appropriate, data concerning the impact of interventions on symptoms of anxiety were pooled using metaanalytical procedures. Results: We identified 24 studies that met our inclusion criteria. Seven professional-directed interventions and 17 organizational interventions (including patient-oriented interventions) were identified. The methodological quality of studies was variable. Professional-directed interventions only impact the process and outcome of care when embedded in some sort of organizational intervention. Metaanalysis (n = 8 studies) showed no effect of diverse organizational interventions on patients' anxiety symptoms (effect size, -0.08; 95% confidence interval, -0.31 to 0.15; P = 0.50). Collaborative care interventions proved to be the most effective organizational intervention strategies. Six studies reported economic results: 4 studies showed that intervention had a high probability of being cost-effective. Conclusions: Collaborative care seems to be very promising for improving primary and ambulatory care for anxiety. At the level of management and policy, the results of this review mandate the need to offer fair and reasonable reimbursement for collaborative care programs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)277-293
    Number of pages16
    JournalCanadian Journal of Psychiatry
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - May 2008


    • Ambulatory mental health care
    • Anxiety disorders
    • Primary care
    • Quality of care
    • Systematic review


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