“Getting Personal” at A Patient-Doctor Symposium

This post was submitted by Alireza (Ali) Radmanesh, MD, Neuroradiology Fellow, University of California, San Francisco.

The 53rd annual meeting of the American Society of Neuroradiology (ASNR) experienced a unique emphasis on patient-doctor relationship and “getting personal.” Parallel symposia on brain tumor, head and neck cancer, traumatic brain injury, thyroid cancer, and cognitive decline hosted patients, surgeons, and radiologists among the audience and as speakers.

Laurie Loevner, MD, program chair and president-elect of ASNR, and the mastermind behind the patient-doctor symposia, described her opinion of this unique experience, “Such symposia help patients know what a radiologist does, and help radiologists to see what it is like to be a patient. A good relationship between radiologists and patients will not happen unless there is a great relationship between radiologists and clinicians.”

Greg Cantwell, an 8-year survivor of glioblastoma wished that his radiologist had been more accessible in his care. Beth Daley Ullem, mother to a child with Tetralogy of Fallot who also had a pregnancy complicated by uterine rupture, had noticed the lack of transparent data on safety and quality of physicians and medical centers. Chef Achatz, a successful restaurant owner, and survivor of stage IV tongue cancer, raised the issue of lack of a personalized approach in medicine that accounts for unique situations and priorities of different patients. Presence of patients’ families and support group representatives among the audience made it easy for all to “get personal.”

The ASNR experience, though initially as challenging as “selling an electric car to nonbelievers,” was undoubtedly a major success in the era of Imaging 3.0™ and precision medicine. Professional meetings provide great opportunities to mingle with the society we serve, and with the patients we sincerely care for.

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