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An Art of Communication & Collaboration

"The Best Healthcare is a team effort," says Gavin Slethaug, MD, an interventional radiologist at Southwest Medical Imaging (SMIL). "As radiologists, it's imperative we were good at what we do. If a radiologist misses that tiny, crucial detail on the image, or misses that early-stage cancer, there could be a delay in diagnosis. Or the patient may not receive prompt treatment, may receive unnecessary treatment. All that could have been avoided."

"But we don't work in isolation," Slethhaug continues. "To be true experts, we need expert team players. We need to communicate well and collaborate effectively with all the physicians and specialists that may be caring for that particular patient."

PHOENIX magazine Top Doctors agree. Here, Top Docs discuss the vital role of teamwork - between radiologists, other physicians and patients- in accurately diagnosing and successfully treating conditions.

Bernard Gburek, MD

"The heart to any good relationship, be it a doctor-to-doctor relationship or a doctor-to-patient relationship, will remain communication. There really is never any substitute for direct conversation and the understanding of subtleties in providing care for a patient. With SMIL I've never had any concern about being able to have a meaningful interaction with a patient. Similarly, when they need, they never hesitate to pick up the phone and give that insight. That patient goes home feeling the individuals taking care of them are collaborating, and it facilitates the greatest possible outcome."

Linda Lu, MD
Breast Surgeon

"It is important that the patient participates in the decision-making and planning on breast cancer treatment. We educate and empower her to make the best decision, so she's not making choices based on anxiety or fear. Our surgical group is part of a multidisciplinary tumor board that is free to breast cancer patients. Because of SMIL's outstanding quality of imaging and compassion for patients, they were the obvious choice to lead our tumor board in our treatment recommendations in these complex breast cancer cases."

Raymond Murphy, MD, PhD
Musculoskeletal Radiologist - SMIL

"There are four major factors in the accuracy and diagnostic value of medical imaging, such as an MRI: the type of equipment used for the scan, which images we capture and how, the expertise of the interpreting physician, and the collaboration between the radiologist and the treating physician. Any two imaging practices will have some variation in there four things. A big enough variation can have a dramatic impact on a patient's diagnosis and subsequent treatment pathway."

Allan Block, MD

"Even if you're not talking to the radiologist or the consultant every time directly in person, it's important to know that person so that you're comfortable talking to them in case you need to clarify something, or your question wasn't answered. Its important to know this person is someone you trust and who does good work., and you feel comfortable picking up the phone and saying, 'Can I talk about this MRI report with you?' Or, 'I have a question about the finding here.' Its always helps to know who's the name at the end of the consult note or the MRI report."

Jay Friedman, MD
Internal Medicine

"Physicians such as myself have to have a working relationship with radiologists. There are radiology services that impersonally outsource around the world at any hour of the day. Its not the same outcome; the care environment Is not the same. I have patients who say, 'I can get an MRI at such and such for half the cost.' But I don't know the doctor who's reading the MRI. I know the doctors who reading it with SMIL, and that's where I would send my own family. When we have on going long-term relationships with individual radiologists, a trust develops. That is a priceless part of the equation."

Gregory Evangelista, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon

"As a physician, I like to be able to talk to the radiologist about the patient. At SMIL, they recognize that's there's a relationship between the radiologist, doctor and patient, so they go the extra step. When they see something, they call me. They're accommodating, so they take the time to give the patient what hey need. That patient's going to get better care then they would with a radiologist who's sitting in a room 600 miles away and doesn't know anything about the patient or the doctor and it just reading studies."

Rod Owen
Musculoskeletal Radiologist

"As technology evolves and the complexity and quality or imaging increases over time, radiology is becoming more and more centrally important in the diagnosis care, planning and treatment of patients. Never before has healthcare been more of a team sport then now. Communication and exchange of information is key. Regardless of the mechanism- digital imaging, electronic data exchange, or HIPAA-compliant texting- the more relevant and frequent the communication, the better the patient's outcomes will be."

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