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How Do Doctor Referrals Work?

Published by Beau

Whether it’s managing patients with specific issues or recommending someone to a specialist, medical referrals are essential to ensure continuity of care for patients. Read this guide to learn more about the importance of patient referrals for your medical office.

What is a Medical Referral?

Medical referrals, also called patient referrals, are the professional recommendations between physicians on a patient’s behalf. For example, a doctor may refer a patient to a specialist, psychiatrist, or therapist for specific treatment. Referrals allow medical professionals to recommend patients to other medical professionals for appointments, diagnoses, or treatments.

The Benefits of Patient Referrals

Referrals offer many benefits to patients and medical professionals.

For patients, a doctor’s referral ensures they receive proper care and medical supervision for specific ailments, conditions, or diseases. A primary care physician (PCP) provides an overview of a patient’s health so they may know someone more experienced or trained for a particular situation. A referral from a PCP ensures proper health care for patients with more serious underlying conditions and chronic illnesses.

For physicians, referrals help streamline insurance and establish a broader patient network. Patients may need specific treatment within insurance network care. Therefore, PCPs might refer patients under the service plans of their medical carrier. Additionally, communication between physicians builds more reputation for local medical offices, allowing them to increase their patient network.

The Referral Process

The referral process has many steps, such as

  1. The patient first requires a referral through their request or from the PCP’s recommendation.
  2. The PCP will submit a referral to see a specialist for the patient. Typically, this specialist works within the health insurance company’s network, has previously worked with the PCP, or has previously worked with the patient.
  3. The PCP’s office will send a referral to the specialist, along with the patient’s medical records, the reason for the referral, and the treatment parameters.
  4. Following the appointment, the specialist will send a report to the PCP detailing the results from the visit, diagnosis, and recommendations for further treatment.

Regardless of the reason for the visit, the referral process ensures continuity of care for the patient and clear communication between medical providers.

Medical professionals shaking hands.

Increase Patient Referrals with Supportable!

Still, patient referrals can become a timely process for any medical office without proper in-house management software. Fortunately, Supportable makes managing referral systems simple! Now, you can have organized patient tracking, verification for an insurance plan’s network, and meaningful reporting all through one centralized database. Request a demo today to see how Supportable can help your health maintenance organization!

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