Andrew L. Rivard, MD
Q: How do you place yourself at the center of patient care?
Although it is impossible for me to meet every patient, I am able to interact with patients undergoing certain procedures.
For example, I meet with the parents of every child who undergoes a CT or MR congenital heart study with anesthesia. In each interaction, I introduce myself as “Dr. Rivard, your radiologist.” Then, I briefly review the planned sequence of events, which is also covered in the exam instructions mailed out ahead of time.
This verbal communication is important because not all parents are able to easily understand the medical implications of the results or how to proceed further. I then ask if they would like to see the images following the exam. This offers an opportunity to show them a 3-D image and go over basic anatomy for about five to ten minutes. This helps the parents understand the situation. And seeing is believing for most of us.
“Each time I talk to the parents of a pediatric patient I have a meaningful opportunity to be the face of radiology, and I’ve found that parents genuinely appreciate these efforts.” — Andrew L. Rivard, MD
Finally, I finish by telling the parents I will need to carefully read all 1,000 to 2,000 images from the study and produce a written final report, which will be sent to the ordering clinician.
Each time I talk to the parents of a pediatric patient I have a meaningful opportunity to be the face of radiology, and I’ve found that parents genuinely appreciate these efforts. I believe that patient contact is an integral part of an academic cardiac-imaging service. I hope my efforts to place the radiologist alongside the patient at the center of care will have a direct benefit to the practice of radiology.
By Andrew L. Rivard, MD, Assistant professor and director of cardiac imaging, University of Mississippi, University, Miss.