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DoctoringThe Nature of Primary Care Medicine$
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Eric J. Cassell

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780195113235

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195113235.001.0001

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The Clinical Method

The Clinical Method

(p.81) 4 The Clinical Method


Oxford University Press

The clinical method is the means by which physicians discover facts about the sick or well patient and enter them into the diagnostic and therapeutic process in equal partnership with information about disease, pathophysiology, and technology. The inadequacy of the clinical method as currently taught and practiced creates problems for physicians, patients, and the health care system — especially primary care medicine. There are three problems. First, knowledge of persons, generally absent from the method, is just as important as knowledge of disease as a foundation of primary care. Second, much of the information required for diagnostic and therapeutic decisions in primary care must still be obtained from communicating with and examining patients. Finally, the clinical judgment of individual physicians is also a component of the clinical method that is insufficiently stressed, and yet the health and well-being of patients are directly dependent on it.

Keywords:   medical education, pathophysiology, therapeutic decisions, primary care, clinical judgment, diagnostic

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