Ethics. Research. Community.

Self-referral to specialists--a dodgy proposition.

International journal of health care quality assurance incorporating Leadership in health services. 
[Record Source: PubMed]
Patients are often ill-equipped to know which speciality to choose for their health problem. Especially in the presence of non-specific symptoms, choosing the right specialist might not be so obvious. In such cases, misdirected self-referrals by patients to self-chosen specialists can sometimes lead to misdiagnosis resulting in unwarranted delays in getting the right treatment. The general physicians, on the other hand, are in a unique position to oversee the big picture of patients' health, and are therefore better equipped to identify and sort out their individual health problems. Hence instead of a specialist if the first place of contact for patients is a general physician, they are likely to be guided along the right path of treatment for their various health problems. Such a system will minimize errors on the part of the patients by making certain that they are referred to the appropriate specialists.
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