Will the need for effective communication between doctors redefine primary care?
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The medical profession differentiated into specialities decades ago. Most doctors are no longer able to serve everyone who might seek medical advice. Put simply surgeons are not expert in psychiatry. Therefore all doctors regularly refer patients to colleagues in other specialties. Geography and logistic considerations determine that doctors seldom ‘talk’ to one another when seeking opinions or advice. To date the main medium of communication between doctors is the traditional ‘letter’. There are numerous studies reporting the impact of this communication and most conclude that doctors often fail to pen enough information when they write to each other. Why articulate people don’t seem to communicate ‘effectively’ on paper, and increasingly online, is the subject of this editorial.