THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATION IN THE MEDICAL FIELD

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Dr. Steve Pate is a General Diagnostic Radiologists at Lincoln General Hospital in Ruston, Louisiana. Dr. Pate’s path to medicine began at Louisiana Tech University, where he received his Bachelors of Science Degree in 1986. Soon after graduation he attended LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport, Louisiana where he received his Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree. His residency was completed at the Diagnostic Radiology Residency program at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas and he has been proudly practicing medicine for over 27 years. Today, he eagerly expresses his passion for radiology and ensures patients are provided with the best care he can possibly provide.

What is Radiology?

There are very few people who practice General Diagnostic Radiology, like Dr. Pate. Since he is employed in such a small practice, he must be extremely versatile. When he went through training he learned “imaging, CT, MR, ultrasound, mammography, regular x-rays, GI, GU, and specials or interventional procedures.” The best way to describe him would be the jack-of-all-trades because he must practice general radiology across the spectrum.

What is the Importance of Effective Communication With Your Patients?

On an average day, Dr. Pate performs highly personal procedures on patients that he has never met before. He stressed the importance of creating a trusting relationship with a patient immediately after entering the examination room. He said, “You have to establish your rapport with the patient. Communication is the key to establishing trust in a relationship and letting them know that you care.” There was emphasis on how critical it is to listen to a patient and ask the most beneficial questions. “It is also very important to get an adequate history because some procedures can only be done at certain times. Relaying what you are going to do to the patient, getting a legal medical consent, and establishing trust are all important,” Dr. Pate states. Many procedures can be uncomfortable or unsettling for patients, so effective communication is critical for patient care.

How do you Communicate With Other Doctors?

Dr. Pate uses an app called AstraChat that securely allows doctors to communicate with one another in accordance to HIPAA guidelines. Otherwise, if it’s day-to-day business, “we will call or usually when there is a case I need help with or I need a second opinion on, I pick up the phone and call one of my partners.” I quickly realized there is little room for pride or an enlarged ego as a doctor. Dr. Pate showed willingness to communicate with his partners on a regular basis in order to properly analyze a case and diagnose his patients.

What are the Benefits of Having Stable Relationships With Fellow Employees?

Just like in any hospital, it takes an array of employees to create a well-functioning environment. Everyone is on a team and they all must work together “from the janitor to the CEO.” Dr. Pate reiterated the importance of his technologists trusting him and having the ability to speak up because they all lend the patient care. He said, “I’m not perfect. Things get by me. If the technologists feel like they can help you out and talk to you, in the long run it improves the care of the patient, which is what we are here for.” If you possess stable relationships with fellow employees, you’re more likely to possess stable relationships with your patients. It’s a win-win situation.

 

Eva Edinger, guest blogger

http://www.rustonlincoln.org/list/member/northern-louisiana-medical-center-5207

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