Reader Poll: The Physical Exam vs Diagnostic Tests

May 29, 2014

As medicine becomes more technology driven, some educators say there is a phenomenon that has become increasingly common — fewer physicians are able to accurately diagnose illness through the physical exam.

Over the past few decades, imaging and other lab tests have become more sophisticated, prevalent, and expensive, and sometimes they are the first step rather than complementary tools to aid diagnosis.

To help resolve this, several medical schools have created programs to revive what some say is the lost practice of the physical diagnosis or “bedside medicine.” These schools believe the physical exam can be an “adjunct to technology and can boost diagnostic accuracy,” as well curb expensive testing and improve the physician-patient relationship.

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