September 1983

Ten Commandments for Effective Consultations

Author Affiliations

From the Division of General Medicine and the Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston (Drs Goldman and Lee), and the Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Stanford (Calif) University School of Medicine (Dr Rudd). Dr Goldman is a Teaching and Research Scholar of the American College of Physicians and a Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Faculty Scholar in General Internal Medicine.

Arch Intern Med. 1983;143(9):1753-1755. doi:10.1001/archinte.1983.00350090131022

• If Internists are not explicitly instructed in how to perform consultations, the outcome of their consultative efforts may be suboptimal. We suggest that consultations will be more helpful if the following principles are followed: the consultant should determine the question that is being asked, establish the urgency of the consultation, gather primary data, communicate as briefly as appropriate, make specific recommendations, provide contingency plans, understand his own role in the process, offer educational information, communicate recommendations directly to the requesting physician, and provide appropriate follow-up. If these ten "commandments" are followed, the consultation is more likely to be effective and satisfactory for all the participants.

(Arch Intern Med 1983;143:1753-1755)