Descriptive Study of Patients Treated in a Psychosomatic Internal Medicine Declared by Japanese Family Medicine Clinic

Natsuki Kajikawa, Hisashi Yoshimoto, Shoji Yokoya


Background: Psychosomatic internal medicine (PSIM) assesses psychosocial factors and provides holistic consideration. In Japan, PSIM physicians seem to be recognized as providers of mental health services, but family medicine did not so. When family physicians confront with psychological problems, high dropout rate is reported so it is needed to reveal factors related to dropouts, The purpose of this study is to describe characteristics of patients, treatment dropouts and its related factors in PSIM practice by family physician.

Methods: This cross-sectional study used data from the medical records of the Kitaibaraki Center of Family Medicine located in Kitaibaraki City, Ibaraki, Japan. The study included all new patients who made an appointment and visited the PSIM in this clinic from January 2020 to December 2022.Chief complaints and diagnoses were coded based on the International Classification of Primary Care, version 2 (ICPC-2).

Results: In total, 377 new patients were included in this study. The mean age was 39.9 20.2 years. We found that 69.2% of patients who visited the clinic had a psychological chief complaint and 84.1% of primary diagnoses consisted of a psychological problem. One hundred sixty-five patients (43.8%) were still receiving treatment 6 months after the initial visit. Of the patients who ended treatment within 6 months after the initial visit, 84 patients (39.2%) dropped out. In multivariate analysis, the dropouts were less likely to occur patients with primary diagnosis of psychological problem (odds ratio (OR): 0.35, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.19 - 0.67).

Conclusions: Patients who visited a PSIM wanted consultation about psychological problems. Patients with a diagnosis of a psychological problem at the initial visit were less likely to drop out.

J Clin Med Res. 2023;15(7):360-367


Psychosomatic internal medicine; Psychological problem; International Classification of Primary Care; Primary care patients

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