To get the correct diagnosis, you always need to remember the basic steps. You would have been taught, as a clinician, the set of diagnostic processes to follow. However, bear in mind that there are potential missteps along the way that could lead to misdiagnosis. If you have been following a long series of steps, then there is a higher chance for errors to occur. Therefore, it is best that we take the time to relearn the diagnostic process so as to avoid unnecessary and, more often than not, costly medical mistakes. The following are the basic steps of the diagnostic process.
1.) Initial Diagnostic Assessment
Before you start with ordering the diagnostic tests, you need to first cover all the bases. Even the most accomplished physicians can sometimes miss this vital step. Do not make that mistake. You need to make sure you know the patient more before making any assumptions. So look into his family history; do note that this has to be an updated record so you do not leave any stones unturned. Then thoroughly review the medical records. You should take down and evaluate the patient’s chief complaint and symptoms to form a differential diagnosis. It is important that at this stage, you build a good rapport with the patient in order for him to open up to you. Never discount symptoms or signals just because it does not support the diagnostic hypotheses. There is a chance that you are looking at an elusive, rare diagnosis. Once you get all these covered, you can order the diagnostic tests.
2.) Diagnostic Testing
For the performance, interpretation, and communication of test results, you need to get the actual diagnostic testing done. Depending on the differential diagnosis, there are hundreds of tests to choose from that suit the patient’s symptoms. Regardless, you will need to have the correct tools to carry the tests out efficiently. One of the most common diagnostic test is a physical exam. Such routine examinations would require reliable diagnostic sets such as the Heine diagnostic sets. Each set of this crucial medical equipment will contain medical instruments used to look into the patient’s eyes, ears, nose, and throat. A set can also include a single instrument with configurable parts that are used to look at all four areas.
3.) Referral, Consultation, Treatment and Follow-Up
You need to ensure that the correct treatment is provided to the patient according to the final diagnosis. Make sure that you confirm with him whether he has any allergic reactions to the medication you are prescribing. Also advise the patient to get back to you with his progress as a follow up. Otherwise, keep a record and give him a call after a period of time to make sure everything is okay. Do not forget about the discharge process and patient compliance. If it is a serious condition that requires the expertise of another clinician, then you may refer the patient. A medical consultation will also be a good idea so a confirmation of the diagnosis can be obtained.
We hope this was helpful. Go through your current health diagnostic process and make sure that you do not miss the basic steps. The correct diagnosis starts with awareness, education, and meta cognition. Also make note of sustainable changes in those clinical behaviors so you may improve your diagnostic performance and reduce errors.