Your primary care physician is responsible for your routine health care, which includes disease prevention and treatment for common complaints, such as a cold. Your primary provider also coordinates and oversees your care. This includes referring you to a specialist, if necessary.
What is a specialist referral?
For many health conditions, your primary care doctor may recommend that you see a specialist for your particular health needs. When your primary provider refers you to a specialist, it means they trust that specialist’s opinion and believes he or she is qualified to address your specific condition.
Your primary care physician’s office will contact the specialist to send them the referral information. You may need to contact the specialist to schedule the appointment, although this will depend on your specific insurance.
When do you need a specialist referral?
A specialist is a physician who has received advanced education and training in a specific area of medicine. There are numerous reasons why your primary care doctor may refer you to a specialist:
You may have received a diagnosis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or Parkinson’s disease, that significantly affects your daily life
Your primary doctor may be unsure about a diagnosis or treatment option
You have a complex, chronic condition that requires frequent monitoring, such as a seizure disorder
You may benefit from a less common treatment method
Your primary provider’s solutions have not helped
Your primary care provider also may work with a specialist to help screen for certain conditions. For example, individuals with significant risk factors for heart disease may be referred to a cardiologist. If you receive a colonoscopy as part of a regular health screening, your primary doctor may consult with a colorectal surgeon.
Access Primary Care Physicians are committed to understanding your needs and helping you develop a plan for your health. This includes getting you the expert, specialized care necessary to answer your questions and improve your wellbeing.