A warm handoff between physicians in a referral relationship reinforces the patient's trust in our judgment, helps build the patient's relationship with the referral physician, and sets the stage for more effective care.
To ensure a warm handoff for every referral, focus on these three key elements:
1. Collegial relationships. Given physicians' busy schedules, informal peer-to-peer discussions about individual patients are not always possible. But the relationship should be strong enough that the potential for conversation always exists — especially regarding a patient who has a complicated history or condition.
2. Information transfer. Establish a consistent and easy way to provide the correct and most relevant patient data to one another in a timely way.
3. Support system. Whatever their job title, those staff members who help facilitate referrals in your practice must be aware of your referral relationships and service expectations. Without an organized support system, including staff who know what information to send and when to send it, the process can unravel.
Read the full FPM article: “How Service Agreements Can Improve Referrals and Shrink the Medical Neighborhood.”
Sign up to receive FPM's free, weekly e-newsletter, "Quick Tips & Insights," featuring practical, peer-reviewed advice for improving practice, enhancing the patient experience, and developing a rewarding career.