Patient referral patterns at a family practice centre in Karachi

Document Type



Family Medicine


Objectives: To describe patient referral patterns at a family practice clinic. Design: A descriptive study.
Subjects and Methods: The study was conducted at Family Practice Center of Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan, in July 2003. A structured questionnaire was used. Patients were interviewed and their medical records were reviewed. The study investigators conducted the interview and review. Ethical requirements were ensured including written informed consent administration and assurance with regard to confidentiality. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software was used for data analysis.
Results: Fifty patients and their records were reviewed. The majority was married and included more women than men, with a mean age of 35.5 years. Most of the study subjects were well educated and were either housewives, in service or students. The majority of the referrals were to Obstetrics & Gynecology, Dental and Ophthalmology clinics. The referral form, which explained the reasons for referral was filled for all subjects. Ongoing problem was managed and return appointment given in forty (80%) and twenty seven subjects (54%) respectively. Twenty one (42%) subjects were referred for consultation, while twenty nine (58%) for complete management. Most of the subjects were referred to regular cost specialist clinics, with a request that they be seen as soon as possible.
Conclusions: We have documented patient referral patterns at a Family Practice Center. Some important areas with more referrals compared to others were identified. Areas with high referrals need specific strategies for optimum performance. These findings highlight the implications of referrals on general practice and it is recommended that such surveys be part of ongoing quality assurance programme, at centers that offer primary care services.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Medicine Today