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Why a Specialist Asks for an Introductory Meeting

by Edward Leigh, Patient Communications Expert
May 22, 2015

Question: My family doctor has recommended I see a specialist. The specialist’s office informed me that I would have an introductory meeting with him before he decided to take on my case. I am wondering why considering my doctor has referred me to him. Is this normal practice?

Answer: Thank you for writing.  

This is a common practice, but please do not take it personally. It is not about a personality match; this is not a first date!  In this case, the doctor wants to hear your medical story and determine if he / she is the best person for your particular case.

To help the doctor determine if he / she is the right person, be well prepared for the meeting. Think about your medical situation and write down the details. When did the symptoms first happen?  How would you describe the symptoms?  Be sure to bring an updated list of medications and information about your medical history, including surgeries and allergies. Your family doctor’s office should send all your records to the specialist’s office, but sometimes things happen.

This is a two way street. With any new doctor, you have to feel that your needs are being met. Is the doctor listening carefully to your concerns? Do you feel comfortable with their recommendations?

Good luck to you.

Edward Leigh, MA, focuses on helping patients and healthcare professionals effectively communicate with each other. Excellent communication skills dramatically enhance patient satisfaction and safety. He presents high-energy and informative programs for hospitals, healthcare associations, medical practices, government organizations and universities. He is also an in-demand consultant and coach. He has a master’s degree in health education.

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