Skip to main content

Referrals to an RDN: Primary Care Provider Toolkit

Building effective team-based patient care has been shown to improve patient outcomes, improve office efficiency, and decrease health care costs. Although health care is moving in the direction of more comprehensive care, fewer than 45% of primary care visits with nutrition-related conditions (such as hyperlipidemia, hypertension, obesity and diabetes) include diet counseling.

As acute concerns often outweigh chronic care management in already short appointments, the majority of PCPs lack the time or focused expertise to offer adequate lifestyle counseling.

This is where RDNs step in.

Referrals to an RDN Toolkit for Primary Care Providers

As the experts in nutrition and behavior counseling, registered dietitian nutritionists integrated into the primary care team provide cost-effective, quality care that fosters patient and provider satisfaction while improving outcomes for patients with a wide variety of medical conditions.

The purpose of this toolkit is to bring together in one easy-to-use place the information, examples, and tools you need to successfully partner with RDNs to provide care to your patients with obesity and diabetes. You may also find this resource useful beyond these specific chronic conditions. Whether you are working with adult or pediatric patients, the toolkit contains valuable tips for supporting team-based care.

There are ten primary sections of this toolkit. Like a real toolkit, use only the tool or section that you need to get the job done. You do not need to read every section or every page of each section, or even read the sections in order. In other words, use what you need when you need it.

  • Section I: The Value of RDN Services to PCPs
  • Section II: Clinical and Practice Guidelines
  • Section III: Reasons for Underutilization of RDNs and Lack of RDN Referrals
  • Section IV: Current Coverage for Nutrition Services
  • Section V: Effective Referral Messaging
  • Section VI: Referral Tools
  • Section VII: Filling the Gap: Nutrition Education Between PCP Referral and First RDN Appointment
  • Section VIII: Coding for Nutrition Services
  • Section IX: Where to Find an RDN
  • Section X: Business Models for RDN/PCP Partnerships

Download the Toolkit

Join the Academy

Members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics receive exciting benefits including complimentary continuing professional education opportunities, discounts on events and products in, invitations to exclusive members-only events and more!