Fading Art of Physical Diagnosis

A while ago, I wrote a post about the long history of the physical exam and how the advances in technology have changed that practice. For the past 100 years, physical examinations have been the cornerstone of diagnosis with expensive tests and machines supplementing the doctor’s direct observations. These tests became popular in the early 20th century as standard measurements were established and quantitative evidence gained importance in medicine. Now, as Richard Knox reports for NPR, some doctors fear that the art of the physical exam may be completely lost due to our increasing reliance on test results instead of trusting our senses.

Listen to the story here.

percussion mallets for testing reflexes, c1850-1945

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