In medicine, referral is the transfer of care for a patient from one clinician or clinic to another by request.
- Tertiary care is usually done by referral from primary or secondary medical care personnel.
- In the field of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), referral also means the informing of a partner of a patient diagnosed STD of the potential exposure.
- Patient referral is where patients directly inform their partners of their exposure to infection.
- An alternative is provider referral, where trained health department personnel locate partners on the basis of the names, descriptions, and addresses provided by the patient to inform the partner.
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