Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Family Medicine Activist: Team Work to Make a Diagnosis


What about your unusual chronic disease when you engage your Family Physician about something else?  Do you mention it?  Should the doctor bring it up?

Yes and Yes, in general.

Each time you see your Family Physician for an illness or injury, your physician develops a "differential diagnosis" which is essentially a list of possible diagnoses that may cause your symptoms (what you feel) or signs (what you and the doctor find physically).

This may originate from a mnemonic (I like SPIT to start with) or other model (there are many).  This reminds me to think of something Serious, something Probable, something Interesting -to me or the patient, and something Treatable that may relate to the acute illness.

Your theory about what's happening is extremely important to the physician.  It's also important for them to know if you think it's related to your unusual/chronic disease.  You are familiar with different manifestations of it and you and the doctor form a very knowledgeable duo.  Working as a team keeps the information fresh and enhances the potential for the best outcome.  We need each other.

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