middle aged retiring doctor joins telemedicine platform to provide online health coaching

When you’re referred to a specialist, the peer referral is often your first chance to assess their qualifications. But what if you don’t know any specialists? How do you find one that can provide the best possible care for you or your loved ones? Today, we’ll discuss some ways to find and vet potential specialists, as well as how to continue your care with the help of expert peer recommendations. 


Specialist referrals are an important step in continuing your care. With so many qualified professionals available, it’s important to find the right specialist for you. By following these tips, you can be sure that you’re getting the best possible care. 

How to get a doctor’s referral

While doctor’s referrals typically mean a patient sees a new doctor, they can also be used for seeing another specialist or even getting access to certain medical records. To get a doctor’s referral, you will first have to find out why you need one. 


Then, begin satisfying doctor requirements (such as getting a more experienced case review) so that when it comes time for your doctor to make a doctor referral, it will be necessary.


Asking for doctor referrals is common among people who are recently diagnosed with a complex health condition or need an intensive or extensive treatment and want to see another doctor. This blog explains how you can get a peer referral for a second opinion. This type of doctor’s referral etiquette follows the peer recommendation process outlined below: 


– Call your doctor’s office and tell them what you need 

– The doctor will ask why 

– Give a medical reason when possible or refer to an annual visit with the doctor in order to establish peer recommendation 

– The doctor will recommend another specialist if needed, but can also use “no referral” if they believe no other doctor is necessary [- If the doctor says “yes”, then follow their instructions and doctor’s referral etiquette].

– doctor’s referrals for medical records may be necessary if you need access to your doctor’s medical notes or test results.

millenial worker facing work from home burnout

Can I see a specialist without a referral?

Yes, but it depends on where you live. Some states require doctors to refer patients to a specialist before they may see one. Others do not have this law. So if you are lucky enough to live in a state that does not require doctor referrals for specialists then the answer is yes, just call up and make an appointment. 


If your doctor doesn’t offer any guidance about finding specialists, then call around to different offices of doctors who specialize in your problem area and ask who they would recommend seeing if you’re uncomfortable with them or unable to get an appointment.


If doctor referral is necessary while attending any doctor’s office as a new patient, always inquire first about doctor referral policies. This will save you the wasted time of calling doctor’s offices and inquire about their services when doctor referral is required, when in fact you don’t even need to see a doctor.

asian woman reading online blogs about viosapp vios app telemedicine Telehealth digital health

How to get a Referral for a Specialist?

Getting a doctor to identify and refer you to a suitable specialist can sometimes be tough. So knowing the basics of this process will help you overcome such obstacles as well as get better treatment for your condition.


While some doctors are able to provide quality care, others may not have the right expertise or experience to address your specific health issues. If you think that you need more specialized care, it is best if you talk about this with your doctor. They should know how to go about getting what’s required for an accurate diagnosis and sufficient treatment for this condition. This is where referral comes in.


1) During your visit, ask whether there are any specialists associated with their hospital or clinic who deal with similar conditions. It would also be helpful if you ask for doctor recommendations.


2) If your doctor is unable to refer you to a specialist or put you in touch with one, the doctor may need to seek permission from someone else. Such people include nurse managers, health service commissioners, consultants, and even primary care groups. These professionals might help make decisions about what type of treatment should be given and who should provide it.


3) You can also consider seeking medical advice through hospitals and other private clinics as well as NHS Trusts. If this fails, try finding out whether there are any local charities and social organizations that offer related treatments.


4) Keep checking back with the doctor. If he still has not been able to get you referred or introduced to a suitable specialist, you should check with the doctor to see whether it’s something that needs more time.


5) If the doctor is unable to find a specialist for you, ask the doctor about other doctor specialists who might be able to help. Then the doctor can give you names, numbers, email and website address if known.


6) When talking about specialists, make sure your doctor includes two specialists who specialize in the same condition as well as ones who deal with different conditions. This way, there will be someone whom you can contact if one specialist does not work out. All doctors know each other and will often ‘trade’ people between themselves (especially doctors) so they may also know of someone good.


7) If the doctor is unable to get you referred and the doctor still thinks the doctor can help you, ask how to get the specialist doctor’s opinion without having a referral or appointment with them. You can also consider asking about an online consultation of your webcam so that the doctor does not need to send your details around and keep it between doctor and patient. This will save time for both parties as well as provide better care for you especially if specialists do not have much time seeing patients.


8) Ask the doctor whether there are any guidelines or protocols associated with this condition that specialists must follow before making a diagnosis . The best way forward would then be to talk to your local clinical commissioning group who should know about these protocols.


9) When contacting specialists directly, tell them everything that your doctor has told you including details of their specialty and what treatment they recommend (if available). They will appreciate you taking responsibility for your health and keeping informed about the process of making a referral.

telemedicine guidance for a remote patient about their prescriptions online using viosapp

Options for Specialist Referral Online

In today’s advanced online environment there are a number of online specialist referral services available to use. In the past, people would have been required to physically visit their primary care physician or family doctor and then wait for an appointment with a specialist, which could sometimes take weeks.   


Today with online specialist referral services, people can complete most if not all of the online process from beginning to end without visiting a general practitioner or GP.     


The VIOS Clinic is one such online specialist referral service where a person needing a specialist consultation can book online 24 hours a day 7 days a week so as they do not have to wait long periods between initially seeing their GP and being seen by the actual specialist concerned. 


There are also online services which provide online health coaching including online weight loss programs, online smoking cessation programs and online quitting alcohol programs. There is even online personal training that can be accessed over the internet through online fitness videos on YouTube or online websites that offer this service.

female doctor discussing online prescription medications with telemedicine consults for second opinions with viosapp

How to Find the Right Specialist for You

Almost everyone knows that specialist doctors and consultants can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your treatment and recovery. But in order to enjoy this benefit, you need to find the right specialist for you in the first place. 


Once you’ve established that specialist care would definitely be beneficial for you, how do you go about finding the right specialist? The general steps include:


Check what area(s) they specialise in.

Know what specific types of conditions or ailments the specialist deals with before you call them up. If you have multiple symptoms caused by different medical problems, make sure to find out if they deal with both problems, only one problem.


Check that your current doctor can refer you

Ask your regular doctor on call whether there is anything special about specialist referral in your case which would warrant some more planning or precaution, for instance.


Call the specialist directly online

Some specialist doctors are more accessible than others; some specialist clinics will even have their own online scheduling for specific hours of the day to take your referral over a Zoom call. 


Sometimes specialist referrals do not require a lot of information or paperwork beforehand, so you can even call up and ask questions about their fees, whether they accept your insurance cover, whether you can pay directly andwhere you should send your referral letter etc. before making an actual appointment. 


Make sure you have all the referral paperwork

Ask your regular doctor (or specialist who referred you if it’s possible) beforehand what other specialist forms or documents might be needed; specialist consultations for instance may require more paperwork than general appointments with them requiring more tests and/or imaging scans etc. 


Some specialist doctors also like their patients to fill in additional patient information sheets before seeing them for the first time (such as questionnaires about how much pain they are in, whether they smoke etc.), so make sure these are ready before going in. 


Ask your specialist about medication changes

While specialist doctors tend to focus on more extreme cases than general practitioners, they are still quite capable of prescribing medications for their patients’ conditions; some even deal with minor treatments such as vaccinations and injections themselves. 


While specialist consultations may seem like longer forms of consultations, there is actually less time available to discuss medication changes which require prior approval etc., so do come prepared with any questions or concerns you might have beforehand. 


Specialist doctors tend to prescribe various drugs for their patients, so don’t assume that specialist consultations are more expensive than general practitioner appointments. 


Sometimes specialist clinics can even have great deals on specialist prescriptions which you can take advantage of.


While specialist referrals are usually only required when your regular doctor is unsure how to treat you, they should still be seen as opportunities for additional expert advice rather than just a referral letter which you get handed over without question.


Specialist doctors are experts in their fields after all, so being prepared will always help you make the most out of specialist care, expecially when you are considering virtual  concierge medicine services. You can read more about the best way to choose a virtual concierge doctor in this article.

Why are Doctor Referrals Important for your Healthcare Needs?

A referral to a specialist allows you to see the best possible doctors, especially if your condition is chronic or serious.  First of all, referrals get rid of the frustration that comes with having to repeat yourself each time you need to go to a new doctor.  


A referral can be called in by any one of your existing medical doctors, enabling you to find out more information about what’s causing your symptoms and get advice on how you can treat them.    


Many referrals also come with recommendations on self-care practices like diet and exercise which can give people more energy.   


Getting referrals for your health care needs helps provide excellent care faster than ever before because they’re flexible enough that patients don’t have to wait weeks or months until they are able to see the right doctor.


It’s important to find referrals that are covered by your insurance policy. If referrals aren’t covered, then you may need to pay out of pocket fees  for this added convenience.


Ultimately referrals can help you stay on top of your health care needs and manage chronic disease or other illnesses more effectively than if they were self-diagnosed or diagnosed through general practitioners alone.

happy doctor with light blue stethoscope and labcoat beside light blue background


If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic condition or recently received a diagnosis, it may be time to consider getting an additional opinion. Regardless of your specific situation, telemedicine can help provide options for specialist referrals and second opinions that are easier on the wallet than many in-person visits. 


The VIOS Clinic also offers convenience when it comes to scheduling appointments around work schedules or family obligations which is important if you have limited mobility due to illness. Take this online test to see if our telemedicine solution is right for you.

Ismail Sayeed CEO Medical Director ViOS, Inc.


Dr. Ismail Sayeed

Dr. Sayeed is the Medical Director of ViOS, Inc. He is a deeply committed physician entrepreneur & medical blog writer. While building the global infrastructure of the VIOS Clinic, he is dedicated to educate people on the potential of specialist telemedicine for managing chronic diseases.

Read more about him in his author bio



  1. The Virtual House Call of the Future, Today | Concierge Telemedicine 2022 - […] who may not be available in your vicinity. Most likely our specialists can connect you with a peer specialist…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Share This