January 10, 1996

Curbside ConsultationsA Closer Look at a Common Practice

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Infectious Diseases, St John's Mercy Medical Center, St Louis, Mo.

JAMA. 1996;275(2):145-147. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530260059032

INFORMAL or "curbside" consultations have been an important yet often an invisible part of the medical management of many patients. Indeed, questions such as "Can I get your thoughts?" or "Can I run something by you?" are familiar to many of us who specialize in purely "cognitive" disciplines such as infectious diseases. However, this subject has received little attention in the published literature.1-3 Since the current health care climate is forcing examination of all important aspects of patient care, both visible and invisible, it may be timely to reexamine the pertinent issues surrounding curbside consultations. The following perspective on curbside consultations is based on our experience as infectious disease specialists in private practice who receive such consultations on almost a daily basis (occasionally four or more per day). We hope that discussion of the various aspects of curbside consultations will be the first step in refining their use without