Referral attitudes and habits were examined in a survey of Minnesota chiropractors. A questionnaire was developed and mailed to 1160 chiropractic physicians that included items concerning referral methods and frequency, factors prompting referral, and providers to whom referrals were directed. Of 531 respondents in active practice, 97.2% reported making referrals during 1985. Most referrals were made to orthopedic surgeons and neurologists with 76.1% of respondents reporting that referrals were made to these specialists on four or more occasions. A majority of respondents (57%) reported that referrals often were made to established consultants [corrected]. Doctors frequently submitted requests to medical physicians for patient records (66.2%) and 71.1% [corrected] reported referring patients for CT scans. The most commonly reported factor leading to a decision to refer was the need for a second opinion, and patient insistence for referral was the least common. Doctor characteristics and demographic [corrected] factors such as age, practice setting (rural or urban location) and practice arrangement (solo or group) were generally unrelated to referral attitudes or habits. However, respondents under the age of 40 did report a slightly higher frequency of requests for patient records than doctors older than 40.
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