In many offices that I visit I often see the dentists staying back after work or through their lunch hour to write referral letters to specialists.
Personally, I don't think that is a good or productive use of time and with some training of your team it can be done away with completely.
In my office how I would want referrals to specialists handled is like this.
During the patient's appointment I would note the need for referral and say to the patient something like this: “That infected wisdom tooth needs to come out but it's very close to the nerve so I'd like to send you to a specialist oral surgeon to get it done.”
From that point forward the team handle everything. They:
- Make the appointment at the specialist's office for the patient.
- They forward the appropriate x-rays
- They write the referral letter and leave it on my desk for signing (or, even better, they email the specialist)
- They follow up with the patient to make sure all went well
Handled in this way referrals become easy and I don't have to stay back after work or work through my lunch hour.