Infectious Disease

ACP wants to streamline specialist referrals

April 30, 2022

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Source/Disclosures

sources:

Healio Interviews

Disclosures:
Abraham reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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CHICAGO — The ACP recently released a position paper that lays out recommendations for improving communication between primary care and specialty physicians, which in turn will improve patient care.

The recommendations were announced during a press briefing at the college’s Internal Medicine Meeting.

“Our challenge has been that the transfer of information from the primary care physician to the subspecialist and between specialists sometimes lacks all the details that could help improve the quality of the encounter when the patient meets the specialist,” George M Abraham, MD, MACP, FIDSA, outgoing president of ACP, said in an interview with Healio.

To avoid the fragmentation that often occurs when multiple physicians are involved in the care of a single patient, the position paper calls for better communication and more involvement with patients and their families in the referral process, which Abraham said would be particularly helpful when two health systems do not communicate with each other or the patient moves to another city or state, for example.

The ACP also encourages that, at a minimum, information from the patient’s most recent office encounter — including laboratory tests and other relevant clinical data — is transmitted to the specialist before the patient arrives.

Finally, the ACP is asking specialists “to close that loop and communicate back with the primary care physician” after they have seen the patient, Abraham said.

References:

ACP. Beyond the referral: Principles of effective, ongoing primary and specialty care collaboration.

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American College of Physicians Internal Medicine Meeting

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