Perspectives in Primary Care features writing from practitioners, activists, and community members representing organizations, practices, and institutions across the United States and around the world.

The Art of the Referral

By Linda Girgis, MD In our current practice of medicine, many people don’t understand what a primary care physician (PCP) does. Some are disillusioned that the PCP serves as a glorified receptionist, just sitting in their offices to pass out referrals to specialists, the real doctors. Often, patients call my office for a referral to a specialist based on a problem that we never treated them for. Many people don’t understand why the receptionist cannot just give them a referral. A referral involves medical decision making and is part of ...