Specialty Referrals

Referral Process

A referral is a formal request from one healthcare provider to another health professional or health service, asking them to diagnose and/or treat a particular condition. The benefit of a referral is that the information which has already been gathered, for example, your reported symptoms and your physical examination, can be passed along to expedite the process, and the provider receiving the referral has a clear idea of what they are being asked to address.

A common type of referral is from a primary care provider to a specialist, asking for expert guidance with a specific condition.

Here at Dartmouth, most of our referrals are to specialists and diagnostic services at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, although there are many referrals made to other community providers, or to providers further away to assist a student who is not on campus or requires specialized care.

What happens next? If you arrived here after being told you were being referred after a visit at Student Health, you may be wondering what happens next. Typically, the clinic you were referred to will try to call you by telephone. The timing of this call may vary, depending on the urgency of your condition and the tempo of the clinic. It is helpful to ensure that your voicemail is on and that the mailbox is not full. Calls from DHMC will often not provide caller ID that identifies the specific clinic.

What if I miss the call? The clinics will usually leave a short message, but often they will only call 2 or 3 times. If you don't have voicemail available and you've missed a call, it may be worth investigating and seeing if that was an attempt to schedule your appointment. Remember that specialist clinics are often scheduling many weeks or even months in advance, it is advisable to schedule your appointment as soon as possible, and if you need a visit sooner, ask to be called in case of a cancellation.

I called the clinic, they said they haven't received the referral. Now what? Due to the volume of referrals received by DHMC every day, it can take a few days for a routine referral to arrive in the clinic. This is less common when working with smaller provider offices. You can view your referral in the Health Portal, if you don't see it there, send a secure message to your Student Health provider.


If you have a specific concern about an EXISTING referral, contact us here. If you would like to be referred to a specialist, you can call 603.646.9401 to book an appointment, or use the Health Portal.