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Intraprofessional communications

The greatest weakness in any referrals process is communication between the referring and consulting physicians.

The communication problems often fall into four areas:

  • incomplete referral requests
  • roles of specialists are unclear (who does what?)
  • no response from specialist after referral request is initiated
  • no feedback to family physician after patient consultation is completed

These shortcomings affect both referring and consulting physicians.

These resources address most of the topic areas.

Physician directories provide guidance on who does what.


Collaborative Initiatives

Seamless Care, Doctors of BC
A collection of joint efforts of family and specialist physicians throughout BC to improve communication.

Guidelines, standard forms

Guidelines for physicians regarding referral and consultation (2013)
Referral guidelines developed collaboratively by physicians in Nova Scotia

The Referral Consultation Process (2010)
From Standards of Practice developed by the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta

Collaboration in Patient Care (2014)
A Statement by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba

Guide to enhancing referrals and consultations between physicians, CFPC and RCPSC (2009)

Medical Access to Service, Alberta; see case study (2009) on how this program was implemented

Referral form development

Referral form development: A how-to guide
Example: Heart failure referral form


Building Access to Specialists through eConsultation (BASE), Ontario

eConsultation steadily gaining momentum in Champlain region, DocToc, fall 2013

Ten Steps to Establishing an e-Consultation Service to Improve Access to Specialist Care, Telemedicine and e-Health, December 2013 | visual presentation


E-Referral Strategy White Paper, Ontario

HealthLink, New Zealand