Mitigating Risk When Referring Patients: Consulting Physicians
Mitigating Risk When Referring Patients
Consulting physicians should send timely written reports to referring physicians. Reports containing critical results should be clearly marked and should include:
• Recommendations, including interventions and the delineation of provider responsibility for treatment
• Follow-up of abnormal test results, including incidental findings
Consultants should also contact referring physicians when patients fail to keep appointments, documenting the notification.
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.