Dr. Patrick Rhoten

Tenacity. That is the one trait that allows me to be the most productive on a daily basis.


Dr. Patrick Rhoten is a specialist in neurological surgery. He is board-certified and received his medical degree from The Texas Technological University’s School of Medicine in 1991. His residency in the neurosurgical field was completed at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, which is a highly-rated institution. He also completed a postdoctoral basic science research fellowship at Case Western Reserve University. He did a complex spinal surgery and neurotrauma fellowship at the University of South Florida as well. Dr. Rhoten started his post-residency career at Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles, becoming the Head of Neurosurgical Spinal Surgery and the Neurosurgical Director of the brachial plexus/peripheral nerve and the functional neurosurgical programs. Dr. Rhoten then went into private practice at The Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and went on to co-found the Institute of Spinal Disorders there. He was the founding Director of Research and Education. In the same year, he also co-founded the Southern California Association of Neurological Surgeons in Beverly Hills, CA. Dr. Rhoten moved himself and his family to the San, Diego area in 2015.

After years of experience, Dr. Patrick Rhoten has cultivated an expertise in complex spine surgery and sports neurosurgery. He is a leader and innovator in the field of minimally invasive surgery, including management for concussions and traumatic spine injuries related to sports. He has published numerous scholarly works related to his knowledge of spinal and brain disorders. The publishing of these articles and his contributions to the field of neurosurgery has given Dr. Rhoten national recognition.

Dr. Rhoten is a known philanthropist, working with numerous charitable causes. For example, he has volunteered his and his family’s time at a Los Angeles food bank. In addition, since 2006, he has been a Neurosurgical Consultant for high school athletes and has become associated with the West Coast Sports Medicine Foundation and the Team to Win Foundation. The Team to Win Foundation provides neurosurgical sports medicine expertise including treatment for concussions and treating at-risk students who come from low income families. The foundation is the first of its kind in Los Angeles. Due to his participation in high school and collegiate athletics he has first-hand knowledge of what can occur during participating in sports. In 2016, he began volunteering as a physician’s advocate in the San Diego area for veterans and for the Laughing Pony Rescue Mission, a non-profit rescue center for abused/abandoned horses.

Dr. Patrick Rhoten was recently on a medical mission in Tanzania, East Africa to share his surgical expertise with a local hospital and its patients. He passed his knowledge of modern surgical techniques on to the surgeons operating in the area. He performed numerous surgeries on the local population for various surgical problems.

He is currently in the San Diego/La Jolla area and is starting a new private practice. Dr. Rhoten is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery, the Society of Lateral Access Surgery, and the North American Spine Society. He is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgeons. Dr. Rhoten is married with four children. He enjoys scuba diving, golfing, hiking, coaching his children’s sports teams and going to the beach in his spare time.

Where did the idea for your practice come from?

Another physician and I were brainstorming ideas on how to create a better-quality care business model for our patients. We discussed it and came up with the idea for a joint practice. We wanted to provide high-quality care in a world-class, contemporary, compassionate environment.

What does your typical day look like and how will you make it productive?

A typical day for me depends on what I am scheduled to be doing that day. I am usually in the operating room at seven in the morning until five or six, sometimes seven in the evening. It always depends on what I am doing and when the tasks are completed. Typically, I see patients in the office starting at eight in the morning to five in the afternoon. That is what is to be expected on a typical office day.

How do you bring new ideas to life?

I usually converse with other people who have similar interests. That is what people who work in my profession usually do: they get together and brainstorm.

What is one trend that excites you?

In medicine, the electronic world is just now coming around, unlike in other areas. The electronic modifications in medicine are the biggest trends that are currently happening. This trend is very exciting for those who work in the healthcare profession. They are the wave of the future.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as a physician?

Tenacity. That is the one trait that allows me to be the most productive on a daily basis.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

To be more patient. Patience has come with time. I would tell my younger self to simply have more patience.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

I believe in always doing the right thing for the patient. Sometimes the administration does not always agree with my vision, because it is not the most cost-effective way. Though they may not always agree with my thoughts, I found that doing what is right for the patient is always the best choice.

As an entrepreneur what is the one thing that you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Sticking to your game plan. That is the main thing that I recommend people should do consistently.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Treating patients with respect to help in maintaining a good reputation. Patients will keep referring you to other patients as long as you treat them the right way. That is what helped my business the most when I was in Los Angeles at my previous practice.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?

When I had to change practices, that was a hard thing to do. I am still in the process of overcoming that now so I cannot really say what the best way to get past it would be at this point in time. Tenacity and having patience have definitely helped though.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I believe everyone should volunteer at some point. I went and volunteered over in Tanzania helping to teach surgeons there new and modern surgical techniques that they didn’t have before. I also performed a variety of surgeries on the local population while there as well. It was rewarding work in the sense that I knew I was helping those who truly needed the help.

What is the best one hundred dollars that you recently spent on what and why?

I do not have a hundred-dollar answer for that question. I will tell you however, that the best ten dollars I spent was on a bag of candy prior to my trip to Africa. I gave that bag of candy to children in the pediatric trauma ward at the hospital there. I stopped in to see them every day and seeing their faces light up when I walked into the room was the highlight of not only my trip but my whole year.

What is one piece of software or web service that has helped you be productive?

The medical software company Doximity. It helps Doctors find their way through a massive maze of literature and information. It helps to pare it down and makes it easier to read through several medical journal articles in a quicker amount of time. This helps out tremendously because you don’t have to search for one specific subject at a time.

What is the one book you recommend our community should read and why?

“Awakenings” was the book that was the most influential to me. The author is Doctor Oliver Sacks, that was made into a feature film as well. It is based on helping those with a certain disease who could not be appropriately diagnosed at the time. The book describes finding a way to treat them and helping to find a cure for the disease that they have. There is a whole litany of how they were diagnosed and treated as well what the outcome of some patients was.

What is your favorite quote?

It was said by Steve Jobs and it is one that I really like. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”.

Key learnings:

● Always do right by the patient. Not only do you feel better about yourself, but the patients know they can trust you.
● Consistency is key
● Everyone should volunteer in some way at least once in their life. It is the most rewarding work you will ever do.


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