Identifying patients with psychosocial problems in general practice: a scoping review.

Rosemarie Schwenker, Tobias Deutsch, Thomas Frese, Susanne Unverzagt

Keywords: psychosocial problems, general practice, scoping review

Psychosocial problems (PSP), understood as health complaints that are not primarily medical and do not yet meet the criteria for a disease, are common issues associated with negative health outcomes. Since general practitioners (GPs) are the first point of contact for any health-related concern, understanding their options to identify patients with PSP plays an important role as it is essential for early intervention and can prevent serious conditions. We conduct a scoping review with the aim of comprehensively exploring the evidence on tools that can capture a broad range of potential problems at once and provide a supportive and practical aid in daily practice for general practice professionals.

Research questions:
What tools are used to identify patients with PSP in general practice?

We follow the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews and the Joanna Briggs Institute Reviewer’s Manual on scoping reviews. A systematic search of four electronic databases (Medline (Ovid), Web of Science Core Collection, PsycInfo, Cochrane Library) was conducted for quantitative and qualitative studies published in English, Spanish, French and German without time restriction. The protocol has been registered with Open Science Framework,

We identified 508 studies through database searching. After removing duplicates, two reviewers screened the title and abstract of 466 studies. Of these, 82 were included for full-text review which is currently underway. At the EGPRN conference, we will present an overview of the included studies and provide details on study objectives, findings, and key conclusions.

Our review contributes to the development of a practical approach that incorporates a biopsychosocial perspective in medicine. We will highlight the challenges and the importance of the under-investigated topic and provide direction for future clinical research.

Points for discussion:
The varying understanding and imprecise classification of PSP as a challenge for both daily practice and clinical research.

What has been the experience in identifying and managing patients with PSP? What support is needed for general practice professionals?