Protecting Yourself

Communication, when both making or receiving a referral, is essential. If you are making the referral, be sure your referral indicates all pertinent information. Consider actually talking to the physician you are referring your patient to on a regular basis, in order to effectively coordinate care. Particularly in the case of a patient with a complex history, it is vital to communicate and coordinate with the other clinician. If you are getting the referral, make sure you have complete information.

E-mail is probably not the best method of communication with patients. Face to face communication, particularly in complicated cases or those involving multiple medications is advisable.

And finally, when prescribing opioids, the risks associated with concomitant medications should be assessed. This, and close monitoring, are critical to patient safety.

Good communication, with both patients and other clinicians, is key to avoiding legal problems and to providing patients with the best care possible.  

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