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How to write medical referral letters

Updated April 17, 2017

A medical referral letter is sent from one physician to another when referring a patient for care. Most often the letter is sent from the patient's general practitioner or primary care physician to a specialist with a request for diagnosis or treatment of a patient. Writing a medical referral letter is up to each individual doctor, although some medical groups have templates to be followed.

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Check to see if your hospital or medical group has a template or prompt sheet for medical referral letters. If so, fill in the template with the applicable patient information and medical history.

Open a text document to begin your letter. Format the letter using a standard business letter template in your word processing program. If you don't have a template simply format it as a business letter. Include the date, your address, the address of the doctor you're sending it to, then the body of the letter and your signature.

Include the patient's personal information and the referring doctor's contact information in the letter. Also include the reason for the referral. A study published in the Medical Journal of Australia reported that specialists prefer referral letters to include a patient's medical history, any clinical findings, prior test results and any previous treatments.

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About the Author

Aubrey Kerr is a writer and photographer. With a B.A. in media arts and public relations, she has helped small business owners design and implement online marketing campaigns since 2004. Her work appears on several websites including Salon.com and the Houston Chronicle.

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