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Using Medical Diagnosis Tools with Patients who Fear the Worst

Posted by Megan Pennie on Thu, Jan 05, 2012 @ 08:14 AM

Written by Dawn Bonsor, RN, VP Client Services, Isabel Healthcare

How often has a patient come into the doctor’s office who is convinced that they are suffering from a rare disease or illness? Perhaps your patient has spoken to friends who relayed stories about someone with similar symptoms who was ultimately diagnosed with a serious illness. Patients often arrive after reading pages of online medical information, have self-diagnosed their ailment and are quite concerned.

Imagine now that you are looking at a positive outcome for this panicked patient, and you are challenged with how to help them calm down. You have determined that the diagnosis is not life threatening or serious, and you need to change their perceived panic of “I may be very sick” to accept your diagnosis and treatment plan.

Each day I work with clinicians who use Isabel in their physician practices, multi-hospital systems or medical schools, and I see how physicians have thought of new ways to leverage the power of Isabel and apply it to their medical practices to improve care and diagnosis accuracy.

Isabel Client SAMARecently, I visited several physicians at South Arkansas Medical Associates (SAMA) who use Isabel with their patients to help explain the thought-process of finding possible diagnoses and rule out obvious and not-so-obvious diagnoses.  Doctors describe to the patient what Isabel does, enter the data, and then discuss the diagnostic suggestions that Isabel presents.

Using the Isabel medical diagnosis tool with patients has helped physicians reassure the patient of their thought process and thoroughness. They have been able to allay patient fears regarding the possibility of the serious illness they suspected and reassure the patient with the level of consideration that is being placed into determining an accurate diagnosis.

Topics: Misdiagnosis, diagnosis decision support, diagnosis, medical diagnosis tool

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