Referral to treatment (RT) is an important part of patient care.
Facilitating the hand-off of a patient to more specialized care is the same whether the health issue is cardiovascular, dermatological, substance use related, or any number of other health care concerns that we encounter with our patients on a daily basis.
Acceptance and follow through on a referral is an important behavioral change on the part of the patient. He or she must choose to accept the offer of a referral and must be willing to take advantage of the specialized care. This can seem like a burden to patients, involving as it may, stigma, embarrassment, and self-doubt.
Facilitating a referral is the same as any brief intervention: understand the patient perspective, remove barriers, and support acceptance and self-efficacy. MI, FRAMES, and Stage of Change can help.