This post was contributed by Patricia A. Hudgins, MD, FACR, director of head and neck radiology at Winship Cancer Institute.
Much of the controversy about radiologists giving exam results directly to patients centers on the absence of the referring physician in that process. It does not have to be that way.
As shown in a recent Imaging 3.0 case study at Emory University, where I practice, the radiologist works in the ENT department alongside other providers. We often consult directly with patients, with the buy-in (and participation) of the other doctors.
We have found that patients appreciate this team approach. We also found that they want to hear from us. Radiologists (who want to) should interact with patients and referring providers. Not only is it the right thing to do. It will help ensure that we aren’t left out of important patient care decisions.
As with most things in life, there is more than one way to do things. We found a creative way of providing what we believe is better, more patient-centered care.
- There were challenges along the way
- The way that we do things may not work in every practice or practice setting.
However, if we look — and think — outside the box, we can find creative ways to bring radiologists and referring doctors together.
We can find ways to better explain to the patient what is going on and enable them to make more informed health care decisions.
I invite you to explore better collaboration with your referring providers and/or your hospital administrators. You might be surprised what you find.
- What are you doing in your practice or health care system to work more collaboratively with your referring doctors?
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