Ways of Mitigating Risk When Referring Patients

Ways of Mitigating Risk When Referring Patients

        Mitigating Risk When Referring Patients


To minimize the risk of error relating to patient referrals, consider the following guidelines:

     • Encourage face-to-face or telephone conversations between referring
     and consulting physicians to clarify contents of a report if necessary.

     • Clearly establish the responsibilities of both parties when communicating

     • Document each exchange thoroughly.

     • Require a provider to initial and date (or electronically sign) all consultation
     reports before filing them in a patient’s medical record.

Treating patients successfully and without error requires seamless communication – lacking or incomplete information can result in missed or delayed diagnoses, patient injuries and subsequent malpractice claims. To mitigate this risk, establish a system that ensures that requests for consults, studies and other referrals include sufficient, comprehensive information and that critical results are acted upon in a timely manner. A lack of clearly defined roles and responsibilities throughout the process can impede a facility’s ability to provide and promote safe patient care.