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Medical Diagnostics

Medical Diagnostics

Medical Diagnostic Tools

Medical diagnostic tools are used in making a medical diagnosis of an individual. A clinician uses several sources of data and puts the pieces of the puzzle together to make a diagnostic impression. The initial diagnostic impression can be a broad term describing a category of diseases instead of a specific disease or condition. After the initial diagnostic impression, the clinician obtains follow up tests and procedures to get more data to support or reject the original diagnosis and will attempt to narrow it down to a more specific level. Diagnostic procedures are the specific tools that the clinicians use to narrow the diagnostic possibilities.

Medical Diagnostic Procedures

A diagnosis, in the sense of diagnostic procedure, can be regarded as an attempt at classification of an individual's condition into separate and distinct categories that allow medical decisions about treatment and prognosis to be made. Subsequently, a diagnostic opinion is often described in terms of a disease or other condition, but in the case of a wrong diagnosis, the individual's actual disease or condition is not the same as the individual's diagnosis. A medical diagnostic procedure may be performed by various health care professionals such as a physician, physical therapist, optometrist, healthcare scientist, chiropractor, dentist, podiatrist, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant.

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Indications For Medical Diagnostics Procedures

The initial task is to detect a medical indication to perform a diagnostic procedure.
Indications include:
1. Detection of any deviation from what is known to be normal, such as can be described in terms of, for example, anatomy (the structure of the human body), physiology (how the body works), pathology (what can go wrong with the anatomy and physiology), psychology (thought and behavior) and human homeostasis (regarding mechanisms to keep body systems in balance). Knowledge of what is normal and measuring of the patient's current condition against those norms can assist in determining the patient's particular departure from homeostasis and the degree of departure, which in turn can assist in quantifying the indication for further diagnostic processing.
2. A complaint expressed by a patient.
3. The fact that a patient has sought a diagnostician can itself be an indication to perform a medical diagnostic procedure. For example, in a doctor's visit, the physician may already start performing a diagnostic procedure by watching the gait of the patient from the waiting room to the doctor's office even before she or he has started to present any complaints.

Even during an already ongoing diagnostic procedure, there can be an indication to perform another, separate, diagnostic procedure for another, potentially concomitant, disease or condition. This may occur as a result of an incidental finding of a sign unrelated to the parameter of interest, such as can occur in comprehensive tests such as radiological studies like magnetic resonance imaging or blood test panels that also include blood tests that are not relevant for the ongoing diagnosis.