Referrals that Don't Disrupt Your Day

Stephen Beeson, MD

Written by Stephen Beeson, MD

Q: As a sub-specialist, I have seen deterioration in the communication of consult requests over the past few years. Some of this may be due, in part, to the use of the EMR, where you can just place the order and click send. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a patient for a consultation with no clinical question to be answered. Worse yet, some of the patients I have seen don't have any idea why they were sent to me. Some consults could actually be averted if the clinicians spoke. Often the question can be easily answered without a complete visit. What can we all do to make these bad referrals go better?

A: Unfortunately many good colleagues unintentionally make bad referrals. Nothing irritates us more than the woefully inadequate work-up, or an unclear clinical question.

To eliminate frustration, here are a few good habits you can share with colleagues that have helped to prevent bad referrals...