Research on collaboration in primary care focuses on specific diseases or types of collaboration. We investigate the effects of such collaboration by bringing together the results of scientific studies.
Theory and methods:
We conducted a systematic literature review of PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane and EMBASE. The review was restricted to publications that test outcomes of multidisciplinary collaboration in primary care in high-income countries. A conceptual model is used to structure the analysis.
Fifty-one studies comply with the selection criteria about collaboration in primary care. Approximately half of the 139 outcomes in these studies is non-significant. Studies among older patients, in particular, report non-significant outcomes (p < .05). By contrast, a higher proportion of significant results were found in studies that report on clinical outcomes.
Conclusions and discussion:
This review shows a large diversity in the types of collaboration in primary care; and also thus a large proportion of outcomes do not seem to be positively affected by collaboration. Both the characteristics of the structure of the collaboration and the collaboration processes themselves affect the outcomes. More research is necessary to understand the mechanism behind the success of collaboration, especially on the exact nature of collaboration and the context in which collaboration takes place.