Monday, October 18, 2010

Basic clinical skills: not dead but in critical condition

The physical exam has devolved into a symbolic “laying on of hands” and a coding facilitator. If those are its only functions we may as well abandon it from medical practice, as its only real clinical consequence is the spread of germs. There are other ways to generate revenue and make emotional connection with the patient. Those who defend it for its diagnostic power risk ridicule for being anachronistic. Left to its natural course this situation will only get worse. There are some clinician warriors who are fighting to restore and preserve basic clinical skills. DB is one of them, and he recently linked to this New York Times article about another: Dr. Abraham Verghese.

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