It is perhaps high time that physicians gave some thought to the elimination of the term "unnecessary referral" from the medical lexicon. As ordinarily used, these words are synonymous with "overreferral," but they carry with them some undesirable implications; namely, that (1) there is no value to a physical (or eye) examination in which no pathology is uncovered and that (2) somebody in the front-line screening program quite obviously goofed.
The increased popular awareness in the areas of "public health" has spawned, and will continue to spawn, an ever increasing number of screening programs for an ever increasing number of diseases. A few of these are, and will continue to be, ill conceived, but all will involve the physician sooner or later and this regardless of his sentiments in the matter. It is important that the physician's attitude toward the "overreferral" is not one which will encourage the expansion of
Tour RL. The Fading Concept of the "Unnecessary Referral". Arch Ophthalmol. 1964;72(4):452-453. doi:10.1001/archopht.1964.00970020452002