Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Studies including at least 50 participants were eligible for inclusion. The studies selected for the review included cross-sectional studies, prospective and retrospective cohort studies with controls, and randomised controlled trials (RCTs).
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies comparing generalist with specialist care were eligible for inclusion in the review.
Participants included in the review
Studies including adult patients with a single discrete medical condition were eligible for inclusion. The patients in the included studies were treated for: breast cancer, cholesterol management, cigarette cessation, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary artery disease, depression, diabetes, Helicobacter pylori infection, human immunodeficiency virus infection, hypertension, liver disease, rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis and vaccinations.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Studies providing a quantitative measure of care were eligible for inclusion. Only studies with a defined optimal standard of care were included in the review. The outcomes in the selected studies included screening rates, treatment and service provision, compliance with practice guidelines, resource use, hospital costs, health status, quality of care, vaccination rates and mortality.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
Two reviewers independently selected studies for inclusion in the review.