Compliance with the recommendations of medical consultants

W. Perry Ballard, Jeffrey P. Gold, Mary E. Charlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Compliance with the consultant’s recommendations is one measure of the effectiveness of a consultation. A previous study showed that compliance was better when fewer recommendations were made. In the subsequent year, consultants were encouraged to limit their recommendations to five or fewer. Despite a significant decrease in the number of recommendations, compliance rates remained essentially unchanged (72%). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that the clinical severity of the patient’s disease and the number of associated problems, as well as the types of recommendations, were significant predictors of compliance. Compliance was best for recommendations involving medications (84%) and worst for recommendations involving diagnostic tests (62%). Compliance was also evaluated in the context of a surgeon’s view of the appropriateness of the recommendations. For recommendations felt to be essential to patient care the compliance rate was 75%, but it was only 44% for recommendations judged non-essential (p<0.001). The consulting internist should be aware that the surgeon’s view of the relevance of the recommendations to patient care needs may have an important effect on compliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-224
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • compliance
  • consultation
  • general medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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