Many years ago, I was fortunate to learn from my mentors that the healing arts as they were called involved a fraternity of like minded individuals that shared common goals and tenets at the core of their medical practices in order to better serve the patient community..
One of these tenets is CONSULTATION.
Consultation is a two way street. When you refer, you are consulting and when you provide advice, counseling or treatment, you are the consultant.
IMHO, great physicians do both.
Mediocre physicians consult too often, or never consult or believe they are a consultant in all too many aspects of practice.
A consultation, as defined by the CPT manual, is an evaluation and management service provided at the request of another physician or appropriate source to either recommend care for a specific condition or problem, or to determine whether to accept responsibility for ongoing management of the patient’s entire care or for the care of a specific condition or problem (Coding that allowed for additional reimbursement to be paid when a consutation was performed got eliminated more than a decade ago).
Consultation: a deliberation of two or more health care professionals about diagnosis or treatment in a particular case.
Consultation: the provision of expert advice and counseling by an individual with specialized knowledge, as a statistician consulting with health care team members regarding study design.
The Mechanism of Consultation:
1. We all have moments when we need an appropriate source for a specific problem that exists beyond our wheelhouse as doctors.
We all have moments when in order to become focused on a specific aspect of practice we sacrifice others.
One is consulting in the former and is a consultant in the latter.
2. We all have areas of practice where we excel or have become more expert in because we have focused our interests, passions and skills on them with extra investment of time, money and practice. We are consultants in these areas and deserve refferals at the appropriate moments when colleagues need consulting.
There are many synonyms for consultation in the dictionary. They are mostly positive and worthy of being high on ones do list lest one desires to become a stale, introverted, robotic and managed pratitioner.
There are only a few antonyms for consultation. They include: anti-social, demobilize, deaf, ignore and neglect.
When one is dedicated to being a healer, one is said to be in practice (not in perfect) and if that is true, there are moments where every practitioner realizes that he/she is not well schooled and practiced enough to provide the needed care for a problem.
The good ones are programmed to acknowledge those moments as shortcomings and consult for the good of the patient and the community.
In my community, over time, fewer practitioners are consulting and fewer practitioners are valued as consultants and the community and the quality of healing and the wellness and health of the community has suffered.
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