An individual should write a medical referral letter that is clear, concise and contains sufficient information to aid the specialist and the patient, according to National Center for Biotechnology Information. A medical referral letter should contain the date, patient's name and age, medical and family history, probable diagnosis, allergies, and reason for the referral.
A medical referral letter that contains sufficient information, such as symptoms, test results and treatments, prevents delays in diagnosis and high health care costs due to repetitive investigation, according to NCBI. Often a referral letter is the sole communication between a doctor and specialist; therefore, it's important that it's a reliable source of reference.
A referral letter reflects the level of professionalism, communication skills and diagnostic skills of the doctor. A good referral letter is legible, says NCBI. A form referral letter can be used to improve quality and content. This type of referral letter is formatted with headings and fill-in-the-blanks. A referral letter is a medicolegal record and evidence of informed consent.
In April 2015, studies suggest specialists are dissatisfied with the quality of referral letters due to a lack of explanation for the referral, clinical findings, details of previous treatment and other medical history, suggests NCBI.