A computer-based outpatient clinical referral system

Int J Med Inform. 1999 Aug;55(2):149-58. doi: 10.1016/s1386-5056(99)00027-1.


The process of generating a clinical referral for a patient, and the resulting transfer of information from the primary care physician to the specialist and back again, are key components in the struggle to deliver less costly and more effective clinical care. We have created a computer-based, outpatient clinical referral application that facilitates: (1) identifying an appropriate specialist; (2) collecting the clinical, demographic, and financial data required to generate a referral; and (3) transferring the information between the specialist and the primary care physician (PCP). This article describes the development of the application itself and several of the knowledge bases that were created to facilitate this process. Preliminary results indicate that the new computer-based referral process is faster to use than conventional methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Humans
  • Information Systems*
  • Referral and Consultation*