For many physicians, radiology is an impersonal specialty. Many radiologists read diagnostic imaging but never interact with patients. Orna Hadar, M.D., a mammography specialist at the Margaret W. Niedland Breast Center at Sheridan partner hospital Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Florida, and Lynda Frye., M.D., Jupiter’s Medical Director of Breast Imaging, take a very different approach. They know the screening process can be terrifying and that for many patients, “having their mammogram is a completely anonymous experience. We want to change that,” said Dr. Hadar. Both doctors find tremendous satisfaction in helping their patients through the experience. “It’s such a scary time for somebody, so to be able to offer some support even just through my guidance and diagnosing … it’s just special for me,” Frye said.
Drs. Frye and Hadar develop meaningful relationships with their patients, and each assures her patients that their well-being is her top priority. These doctors know that it is important to many women that they receive news—whether good or bad—from a physician whom they see regularly, know and trust. They also know that the uncertainty a patient feels while waiting for the results is one of the most stressful aspects of a mammogram visit. So they insist on reading images immediately and bringing in the patient to discuss them. This not only allows patients to associate a trusted face with the diagnosis, it also avoids the need for them to return for another visit if further testing is needed. If additional images or biopsies are needed based on the initial reading, the radiologist will take them during the same appointment.
Not surprisingly, these doctors have a loyal following. In fact, Dr. Hadar, who previously practiced in New York City, has many New York-based patients who routinely travel to South Florida to see her for their annual breast imaging.
By developing trusted doctor-patient relationships, reducing the stress of breast cancer screenings and removing the inconvenience of callbacks for additional images or tests, Drs. Frye and Hadar encourage their patients to have mammograms on a regular basis. They are leading by example, providing a strong model for radiologists to deliver better care, improve efficiency (by eliminating the need for callbacks) and encourage patients to get regular screenings that can identify indicators of cancer early and enable more timely treatment and better outcomes.