How to write a Referral Letter to a Healthcare Practitioner

Scope of practice is an important legal and ethical principle that Health Practitioners must observe at all times.

We as Natural Health Practitioners perform specific assessments on our patients but we do not diagnose. Therefore, if a patient presents with symptoms that are not identifiably in our scope of practice, we must refer them to a primary health care practitioner for appropriate care and diagnosis.

Writing letters of referral not only enhances patient care but also helps establish professional credibility within the medical community. And even though writing professional letters is an essential requirement of any Natural Health Practitioner, it doesn’t come easy to all of us.

There is a general letter format that Health Practitioners should follow to ensure that the practitioner reading your letter can easily and quickly understand the reason for your referral. And care should be taken not to dictate to another healthcare practitioner how to do their job, but rather encourage them to consider your findings, review the patients case and collaborate with you to ensure the patients’ health concerns are addressed.

Studies of referral letters consistently report that healthcare practitioners are dissatisfied with the quality and content. The concerns most often expressed are the frequent absence of an explanation for referral, medical history, any previous findings, and details of treatment.

Health Care Practitioners, such as GP’s, prefer structured, computer-generated letters to unstructured, dictated letters and often use letter templates recommended by their professional organisations to enhance the quality of correspondence between medical specialists and referring doctors.

Gain Access to Letter templates:

Until now, The Natural Healthcare profession hasn’t had access to letter templates and yet this is a requirement of our professional associations and is stated in their “Code of Professional Conduct” manual (ask your association for a copy).

This is something we found odd here at Natural Business Tools.

How are Natural Healthcare Practitioners supposed to work at a professional standard when not given the RIGHT tools and information to do so.....?

So we have created numerous referral letters to assist you in communicating effectively with other healthcare practitioners.

Available Templates Include:
- Letter to GP requesting case review and referral to another healthcare practitioners
- Letter to GP Requesting care review and further testing
- Letter to GP Requesting blood test
- Letter updating collaborating practitioner about patient progress and treatment plan

These letters will help you to communicate effectively and effortlessly with your patients and fellow practitioners, and are editable allowing you to personalise each letter. Then either print or email directly to the desired recipient.

Expressing yourself clearly in a referral letter is a skill that takes time to learn and requires practice. Ensuring that letters meet the needs of letter recipients saves time for clinicians and patients and helps to avoid patient dissatisfaction and loss of confidence in their health care practitioners.

Our Top Tips for Writing a Referral Letter:
- Express yourself clearly
- Be concise
- Tailor the letter to the person who will read it

And Include:
- The date the letter was written
- The DOB of the Patient
- Patients full name
- Patients presenting signs and symptoms
- Reason for referring
- Your contact details and qualifications

If you are not good with words or short of time, subscribe to Natural Business Tools to access these letters and make communicating with other practitioners a breeze.

Stay tuned, more blogs about how to write effective professional referral letters will be available in the coming weeks, including when and how to use medical acronyms in your letters.

References:
https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2002/177/9/improving-doctors-letters viewed 12.2.2016