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Survey Finds Physicians Dissatisfied with Current Referral Process to Dentists

The Health Policy Institute has just released a research brief examining the patient referral process from medicine to dentistry. In a survey conducted among internal medicine physicians and specialists at the University of Illinois at Chicago Hospital, physicians reported that they were dissatisfied with the referral system to dentists, the coverage of dental care services for patients and their ability to distinguish a worrisome oral lesion from a variant of normal. More than half of worrisome lesions were referred to physician specialists instead of dentists specifically due to the lack of a referral system. Efforts to improve the referral system to dentists, facilitate the creation of an electronic referral system and promote dental education for physicians could increase both physician and dentist satisfaction and the quality and efficiency of care for patients.