Patients are referred to specialists outside of the practice as a normal course of action. However, the choice of who you refer to reflects directly upon you and your practice. A specialist who has a poor bedside manner may alienate your patient and you may lose them as a result. It is vital that you follow-up closely with all patients who are referred out to specialists. This is true from both the perspective of how the patient felt about their interaction with the specialist and his staff, and also whether the patient is going ahead with the recommended treatment. Or do you need to find alternative treatment options for him/her?
Lost in Space
It is important to keep track of your patients, and booking their appointment with a specialist before they leave your practice constitutes a point of service … really caring about the patient as well good business sense. If they are not kept track of, they can be lost, fall through the cracks and not get the care that they are counting on you to provide. Caring about your patients means ensuring that you know where they are, whether they are proceeding with the recommended treatment and helping them get the best possible treatment.
What if They Refuse?
In some instances, a patient may not be willing to see a specialist but will request that you do the best you can. Obviously, it is better for a patient to get some care rather than none. Also, specialists do not always communicate effectively with your patients. In some instances, the specialist will tell you that your patient has agreed to proceed with treatment while a phone call to the patient reveals that the patient has absolutely no intention of doing so. If you know what you patient’s intentions are then you can respond appropriately by referring them to another specialist, having the patient get the work done by you, etc.
Good Follow Up
Keep in contact with the specialists that you do use and don’t forget to get their report concerning what occurred when your patient visited them. However, where you get repeated patient complaints about a specialist, find another one to refer to as the patient may tar you with the same brush as the specialist.
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