Referral and Consultation

Referral and Consultation are prescribing processes in which one provider (prescriber) requests services of another provider (consultant). For clarity, we refer to Consults as requests that are fulfilled in inpatient or emergency contexts and Referrals as requests that are fulfilled in outpatient contexts. The “Consultant” is the physician fulfilling the request in all contexts and the “Referrer” is the physician generating the request.

Talk before Clicking

While Connect Care can facilitate documentation of consultation activities, prescribers remain responsible for contacting the desired service to make sure that any urgency is clearly understood. Routine (e.g. pre-op) consults may be communicated by medical support staff in some circumstances. The act of calling-in a consult will also clarify which prescriber is responsible for the consultation. A facility locating service, or regional on-call application (ROCA linked to a Connect Care dashboard), can help. The consult question and comments should follow QuRE guides.

The basics of Connect Care referral and consultation processes are summarized for physicians:

Consultation Workflows - Inpatient

Inpatient Consult workflows are relatively straightforward, involving fewer team members, shorter timelines, and fewer organizational boundaries; as explained in the following practical resources:

Referral Workflows - Outpatient

Outpatient Referrals are more complicated than inpatient Consults because the request could come from inside or outside Connect Care and the request receipt, triage, assignment, acceptance, scheduling and fulfillment can involve many members of the health care team, as well as the patient. Outpatient Referral responsibilities for physicians are addressed in the practical resources:


Physicians may appoint a colleague to help produce sharable personalized lists of common services and clinics for consultation and referral. Those so designated may find it helpful to browse a master list of all available Wave 1 "departments" (the clinics and services that one can direct to), together with the problem types that would land patients in specific clinics.