Robert Occhipinti, MD
Dr. Robert Occhipinti was born and raised in New Orleans, and attended the University of New Orleans and LSU School of Medicine.
While in school, he was drawn to internal medicine for its broad range of patients and conditions. “I enjoy the variety and the depth of everything you do, and seeing a wide variety of patients,” Dr. Occhipinti says of his specialty.
The doctor approaches patient care from a big-picture perspective, taking patients’ lifestyles and goals into consideration before offering advice and suggestions. “Years ago, you just did what the doctor told you, and that was it,” he says. “Nowadays, it’s a little bit more of a collaborative effort.”
One of an internist’s challenges can be integrating treatment from a patient’s other doctors or healthcare providers. Older patients in particular often see multiple doctors for different conditions, and treatment and medications must be properly aligned. When necessary, Dr. Occhipinti helps coordinate treatment plans, and takes the time to help patients simplify their medications.
“A lot of patients, when they end up with a lot of physicians, they get overwhelmed,” Dr. Occhipinti explains. “Sometimes they come to an internist and say, “Help guide me through the confusion.’ I’ll sit down and say, ‘Let’s look at all these medicines you’re taking. How can we simplify things for you?’ Sometimes it’s my job to be the quarterback.”
In addition to helping clarify treatment plans, Dr. Occhipinti focuses on ensuring that patients are getting the appropriate screenings to keep them in good health, including reminding patients over 50 to schedule a yearly colonoscopy and prompting female patients to keep up with mammograms and pelvic exams.
Dr. Occhipinti also aims to alleviate stress for patients who worry about their visits. “Going to the doctor can be a stressful thing,” he acknowledges. “I try to put patients at ease when I can. I try to keep the mood fairly light, and make them feel as comfortable as possible.”
One of the most rewarding parts of Dr. Occhipinti’s practice is knowing that he is providing exceptional patient care. “It’s just gratifying when someone tells you ‘thank you,’” he says.
When not seeing patients, Dr. Occhipinti spends time with his wife, son and daughter. “I like to play the piano, and I like to read,” he says. “My wife and I like to travel.”
“I try to look at the big picture for the patient: what are their goals? I think it could be a team effort. I’m going to give you my advice and my suggestions, so let’s come up with a game plan. Let’s work together and see what we can do.”
New Orleans, LA