Pertinent Data Sets

Referral Guidelines

Pertinent data sets (PDS) consist of patient information not typically included in a generic referral request to help ensure an effective and high value clinical engagement by the referred to out-patient specialist/subspecialist. These PDS were developed by participating societies belonging to the American College of Physicians' (ACP) Council of Subspecialty Societies (CSS), were reviewed by ACP representatives specializing in primary care, and are generally linked to a specific common clinical condition. Each PDS addresses the following parameters when applicable:

  • The name of the clinical condition
  • A description of how the PDS elements were determined including attribution to any reference material used in the process.
  • Additional patient information that is essential for an effective engagement.
  • Additional patient information that is helpful, but not essential -- should be submitted only if already part of the patient’s record.
  • A list of “Alarm Symptoms/Conditions” indicative of the need for an urgent appointment.
  • Recommendations of tests/procedures that preferably should not be performed prior to consultation (discussion) with the specialist/subspecialist.
  • Recommendations of common rule-outs that might be considered prior to initiating a referral.
  • Inclusion of any relevant “Choosing Wisely” elements developed by the participating society(ies).
  • A collection of resources (e.g. web-based links) that might be helpful to the referring healthcare professional and/or patient regarding the particular specialty and/or condition.