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OBJECTIVE: To systematically review randomized trials of the effectiveness of inpatient Consultation-Liaison (C-L) Psychiatry service models in improving patient outcomes, reducing length of hospital stay and decreasing healthcare costs. METHOD: We searched databases including Ovid Medline, Ovid Embase, Ovid PsycINFO and EBSCO CINAHL for relevant trials. Two independent reviewers assessed articles and extracted data. The review is registered with PROSPERO, number CRD42019120827. RESULTS: Eight trials were eligible for inclusion. All had methodological limitations and all were published more than ten years ago. None reported clear evidence that the C-L Psychiatry service model evaluated was more effective than usual medical care alone. All the service models tested focused on providing a consultation for patients identified by screening. Clinical heterogeneity precluded meta-analysis. CONCLUSION: Whilst we found no evidence that any of the inpatient C-L Psychiatry service models evaluated is effective, the sparseness of the literature and its methodological limitations preclude strong conclusions. The trials do, however, suggest that purely consultation-based service models may not be effective. A new generation of robust clinical trials of a wider range of C-L Psychiatry service models is now required to inform future service developments.

Original publication




Journal article


Gen Hosp Psychiatry

Publication Date





11 - 19


C-L psychiatry, Consultation, Liaison, Randomized trials, Systematic review