The Care and Feeding of Your ER Doctor
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Neil Baum, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Urology, Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, LA
Author, Marketing Your Clinical Practice-Ethically, Effectively, and Economically, Jones Bartlett Publishers
Few physicians would like to make their livings from referrals from the emergency room. However, this can be a great resource of patients especially new physicians just starting in practice. One of the nicest ways to endear yourself to the ER physicians is to treat them like any referring physician and send them a follow up note when a patient is referred from the ER.
Your note might say, “______ was seen in follow up after their visit to the ER. The treatment ______ was appropriate and I ordered the following additional studies: ______. I appreciate the referral and I would be happy to let you know how they are doing.” This acknowledges that the patient was seen in follow up, that the ER doctor treated the patient appropriately, and that you are appreciative of the referrals.
Bottom line: The emergency room can be an excellent source of referrals. Make every effort to treat the ER and the ER doctors like any other referring physician. If you want to receive referrals from the ER, acknowledge by a written referral letter your management of the patient and your appreciation of the referrals. This method of communication is far better than a box of doughnuts sent to the ER to say thank you.