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Consultations and referrals

Improving the referral-consultation process

Overview and objectives

Two hands shaking in greeting


One of the most common ways for doctors to collaborate is through referral and consultation. Poor communication between referring physicians and consultants can lead to disruptions in care, delayed diagnoses, unnecessary testing, iatrogenic complications, and frustrated physicians and patients. Improving the referral-consultation process is one of the most effective ways of providing safer care and reducing the risk of medical-legal difficulties.


After completing this topic you will be able to:
  • Document a referral request.
  • Explain 3 characteristics of an ideal consultation report.
  • Describe 3 medical-legal pitfalls associated with the referral-consultation process.