Delayed treatment, dissatisfied patients, and decreased referrals too often result from failure to properly manage the referral process. In an ideal situation, three primary steps take place in coordinating referrals between the primary care provider (PCP) and a specialist. These steps are:
- The referring physician contacts the specialist and explains the referral reason.
- The specialist treats the patient and promptly communicates findings back to the PCP.
- The PCP, specialist, and patient work out ongoing care as needed.
It's important that collaboration occurs between the PCP and specialist in order to ensure the patient receives the best care possible.