General practitioner and physiotherapist communication: how to improve this vital interaction

Christopher Hayward, Simon Willcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Appropriate communication between general practitioners (GPs) and physiotherapists is vital for providing optimal care. Differing opinions exist as to key inclusion in this communication. This study aims to identify the key components that both GPs and physiotherapists would include in inter-professional communication. 

Methods: Qualitative study design, using 14 in-depth, semi-structured telephone interviews. 

Results: Physiotherapists identified relevant past medical history, psycho-social history, yellow flags, anticipated time frame for follow-up and objective measures of current function as the more useful inclusions in written communication. GPs identified the inclusion of a working diagnosis, treatment summary and likely long-term outcomes as the key components to effective communication. 

Discussion: Effective interprofessional communication requires the provision of information that is both succinct and relevant. While there are individual preferences, this study suggests that certain key characteristics exist, and the inclusion of these in interprofessional communication may lead to improved communication and patient outcomes. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-308
Number of pages5
Journal Primary Health Care Research and Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • communication
  • general practice
  • physiotherapy


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