The basic concepts of medical consultation have been reviewed. The referring physician and the consultant both have responsibilities to fulfill in order to maximize the effectiveness of the consultation in improving patient care. The reasons for and urgency of the consultation need to be communicated to and understood by the consultant. The consultant needs to respond by promptly evaluating the patient, concisely documenting his findings, and communicating his recommendations to the referring physician. As described by Bates, the ideal medical consultant will "render a report that informs without patronizing, educates without lecturing, directs without ordering, and solves the problem without making the referring physician appear to be stupid" . The consultant should try to support the referring physician and comfort the patient. By following these guidelines, the consultant will be more effective in providing useful, informative advice likely to result in enhanced compliance with the recommendations and improved patient outcome.
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