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Harefuah. 1995 Jul;129(1-2):20-4, 79.

[Improvement of communication between consultants and family practitioners: a controlled trial].

[Article in Hebrew]

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Dept. of Family Medicine, Romema Clinic, Kupat Holim Clalit, Jerusalem.


Communication between primary care physician and consultants is essential for continuing patient care. Several studies have noted failures of consultants to provide follow-up information to the referring physician. We studied the referral pattern in a family practice clinic, and tried to increase written communication between consultants and primary care physicians. 306 patients referred to medical consultants during a 6-month period received either a routine referral form with the patient's name, age and reason for consultation, or an experimental referral form with a special area for the consultant to fill out and return to the referring family physician via the patient. The overall referral rate was 6.4%, the most frequently consulted specialists being ophthalmologists (27%), followed by surgeons (26.4%), internists (24.7%), otolaryngologists (10%) and gynecologists (8%). Consultation reports were returned to the referring physician in 55% of the cases. The return rate was significantly higher (62.5%) for the experimental form than the standard form (48%), (p < 0.004, X2 = 15.18). This improvement in response rate was seen for all specialists and for the different types of clinics. The proposed referral form is a simple and inexpensive method of improving communication between family practitioners and specialists, thus ensuring continuity of patient care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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