Why learning never ends for physicians — Steward's vice president of cardiovascular medicine

Dr. Joseph Carrozza, MD, vice president of cardiovascular medicine at Dallas-based Steward Health Care, discussed why physicians should never stop reading clinical literature and the benefits of taking ownership of patients' care during a recent episode of the Becker's Healthcare cardiology podcast.

Here is an excerpt from the podcast. Click here to download the full episode.

Editor's note: This response was lightly edited for length and clarity.

Questions: Can you share three pieces of advice for emerging physician leaders today? 

Dr. Joseph Carrozza: Medicine involves lifetime learning, and reading is critical. It's so much more important today when we're now really trying to deliver what we call evidence-based medicine. Reading the literature and learning about clinical studies is not something you do during medical school and then, you know, maybe do every now and then because you're due to recertify for your boards. I think the best physicians really stay connected with the body of work that's out there. 

The second thing I would say is learn how to take ownership of your patient's care. I'm an interventional cardiologist, so I do procedures, but I think it's important that my patient doesn't just view me as some sort of technologist who's going to do the procedure today and then move on to someone else. If you build a relationship with your patient and the family, they will trust you, and it's a lot easier to get them to work with you on therapies that sometimes are scary. Or sometimes it's hard to convince somebody why it's important to take two cholesterol-lowering medicines when they feel fine. If you have that relationship with your patient and their families, they're more likely to work with you to manage their disease rather than feeling like, "OK, he's going to dictate to me what needs to be done, and I'm not part of the team."

With EMRs these days and doctors oftentimes not coming to the hospital or primary care physicians working out of the office, it's absolutely critical that we communicate with our colleagues because many of our patients have multiple specialists. Sometimes they have more than one cardiologist. And, you know, if we're all operating in isolation, then we're not going to deliver the best care for our patients. Giving your colleagues your cellphone number, calling them after a procedure — or after you've been asked to see one of their patients — and coming up with a treatment plan is so important.

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