Service agreements can be a good way to define expectations when you refer a patient to a consulting practice. The best way to create these written agreements is to meet face-to-face with the consulting physicians you refer to most often, addressing these key questions:
1. How do your patients access the consultant’s practice, not only for urgent and semi-urgent care but also for more routine care?
2. What information does the consultant need from your practice to move ahead with the consultation, including any required tests or other treatment, and what information do you need to receive back from the consultant?
3. Are there special considerations for this specialty (e.g., forwarding to a gastroenterologist the patient’s most recent general physical exam to avoid the need for a separate medical consult prior to a routine screening colonoscopy)?
4. Who is responsible for which parts of the patient’s care?
5. How do you want the consultant to handle the need for another specialty opinion?
6. Does the consultant have any “pet peeves” about how your group is approaching or sending referrals?
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