There can be many challenges when referring patients to a specialist. Patients may have financial concerns with regard to the recommended treatment or they may have personal difficulties such as anxiety or time constraints. Frequently, the challenge in referring a patient to a specialist is really just a breakdown in communication between doctor and patient.
Each individual has a different personality and a specific set of needs; patients need to be able to hear your reasons for referral in a way that they understand. Often, patients decline treatment recommendations because they do not feel heard or understood by the treating dentists. This is certainly not because dentists don’t try, but rather because the information is presented in a way that fails to take into account the patient’s requirements or needs. An example is presenting a treatment recommendation to a patient with a “wise” type of personality. This kind of individual is going to need lots of answers and information. If ALL questions are not answered clearly and concisely, the patient may be put off from accepting the recommended treatment or specialist.
Good communication between patient and doctors, as well as between the doctors, is critical to resolving challenges when referring patients.