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How do I make sure my Primary Care Physician knows what my endocrinologist is recommending for me or my kid?

It's very important that there is communication among the physicians about your heath, and about any changes in your condition or your diabetes treatment. Since you yourself are part of your Diabetes Team, you can, and should, take the initiative to be sure that a message will be sent back to your Primary Care Physician (PCP) or to other physicians who need to know what's going on with your diabetes management.

There are several ways that your endocrinologist's recommendations can be sent to your Primary Care Physician and other physicians. I'd like to suggest four:

  1. the phone,
  2. the fax,
  3. the mail, and
  4. the feet.

First, the phone: If something urgent is going on, a telephone call by your endocrinologist to your PCP, or by your endocrinologist's diabetes nurse educator to the "telephone nurse" at your PCP's office, is obviously the fastest.

Second, the fax: Your endocrinologist's office notes, or a copy of the new prescription that he/she wrote, or a copy of the handwritten or computer-generated notes the diabetes doc gave you, or of the phone call chart entry from a telephone interaction, can be sent to the PCP's office by fax. This works very well, if both docs have fax machines (which is pretty common nowadays), and if your endocrinologist's handwriting is at all legible...

Third, the mail: Be sure to tell both your endocrinologist and diabetes nurse educator (several times, or until the doc scribbles a reminder note to the staff) that you want a report, or copies of his dictated office notes about your case, to be sent to your PCP and to any other doctors who are helping manage your healthcare.

Definitely ask for a copy of this report to be sent to you, also. Although some doctors might be somewhat surprised at this request, any doc worth his/her salt (or sugar) should not feel affronted, and if you receive a copy of the report, you can show it to your PCP the next time you see him/her, and check that the original copy is filed in the PCP's office records: if it's missing, your PCP's staff can photocopy it for the medical file.

Finally, the feet: It's possible that the two doctors' offices might be in the same building, "just down the hall." If this is the case, ask if some staff person would carry a report over to the PCP; if it's difficult for them to leave the office where they saw you, ask the receptionist for a copy of the preliminary reports, and volunteer to carry the report yourself!

(Don't be surprised if the receptionist smiles, and makes a copy for you to carry. And, if the receptionist is on the ball, it will probably be placed into a sealed envelope and labelled with the PCP's name; don't break the seal; when you carry it over to the PCP, your records are less likely to be misplaced if they "look official" in an envelope. If you want a personal copy, ask the endocrinologist's receptionist for one.)

Depending on the circumstances, any one of these four methods of communication should work to relay your endocrinologist's recommendations to your PCP. Just make sure the information gets there somehow!

Original posting 20 Nov 95


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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