Do’s and don’ts for interdisciplinary cases

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When you refer patients to a specialty practice, you can end up alienating them, not due to clinical issues but because the two offices fail to communicate with each other in a timely, efficient way. Unless you take the lead in clarifying exactly how you and the specialist will keep each other up to date on progress and developments, both parties may end up frustrated and look bad in the eyes of the patients. 

Practice Success Do

Establish a communication plan immediately. For each referring practice, set up an interoffice communication plan. This plan should define what each practice’s informational needs are, who is responsible for managing the process, what means should be used (phone, email, letters), when communications should occur, and how to communicate about urgent situations. Your objective is to avoid giving patients the impression that you and the specialist aren’t on the same page or that you’re not paying attention. 

Practice Success Dont

Don’t forget to keep patients in the loop. Out of respect for patients (and to perpetuate strong relationships with them), let them know what’s happening, even if it’s routine. What’s obvious to you may not be to patients.

Dr. Roger P. Levin is CEO of Levin Group, a leading practice management and marketing consulting firm. To contact him or to join the 40,000 dental professionals who receive his Practice Production Tip of the Day, visit or email [email protected].

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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