Evaluation of the Referral System Performance in the Family Physician Program

Nastaran Laal, Reza Shekarriz, Mohammad Bahadoram, Nozar Dorestan


Background: As the first in the line of contacts between patients and the health system, family physicians have an important role in improving the health status of a society. Referring the patients to specialized care or special health services is one of the important duties for this group.

Objective: To better understand referral services, this study aimed at evaluating the referral function of family physicians in Damavand City.

Materials and methods: This cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out in five health care centers with eight family physicians in Damavand City from April to September 2013. The main variables included the number of referred patients to laboratory and radiology centers and specialist physicians and the provided feedback.

Results: The findings revealed that three out of eight family physicians referred patients to the laboratory more than the set cap. As for referrals to specialists, only one physician had more than ten percent of the cap. The feedback was zero for all patients, except for one case who had unknown status and another who had five percent feedback.

Conclusions: According to the results, it can be concluded that the existing referral potential is not optimally fulfilled by family physicians of Damavand City. Increasing the usage of the available potentials is hence recommended.

Key Words: Referral System, Family Physicians, Damavand

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