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The Art of Clinical Thinking

In today’s medical world, it might seem that the primary task of a doctor is to obtain diagnostic conclusions generated by various scanning devices. Indeed, such reports and descriptions are increasingly perceived as the final and infallible diagnosis—a trend that only grows stronger from one medical generation to the next. But is this really the case? Can modern imaging technologies completely replace a physician in the diagnostic process?

I have been asked more than once, “Why spend time on a personal examination of a patient when you can do an ECG and EchoCG and immediately get a cardiological diagnosis?” There is a somewhat demeaning tone in the question towards the medical profession. If all the answers are already contained in the diagnostic report, then what is the role of a professional who has spent at least eight, or even more than ten years acquiring higher medical education?

My response also does not solely rest on the fact that the accessibility of diagnostics for patient often frustrated by complexity and cost. Long weeks of waiting for scheduled examinations, transportation difficulties, and the high price of tests remain a barrier on every continent.

Instead, I would draw attention to the possibility of errors in imaging as well as the impact of the time factor. A doctor must be able to do more than simply read a diagnostic report, they must also have the capacity to critically analyze it. Most importantly they need to have the ability and wisdom to compare it with other data; otherwise errors are inevitable. As doctors we all know of cases where a mistaken or incomplete evaluation of a diagnostic report have cost a patients their life, or at the very least, they lost a chance for a better prognosis. Only a doctor who possesses deep knowledge and critical thinking can apply diagnostic information relevantly to the clinical situation and accurately formulate a diagnosis.

Heart sounds can provide a great deal of valuable information about the condition of cardiac structures and functions, although they require a high level of skill for their analysis. Fortunately, modern digital stethoscopes can improve auscultation efficiency and make it easier to analyze heart sounds.

We are convinced that the doctor remains the most crucial participant in the diagnostic process, and the Stethoscope is a tool that expands their capabilities. Using all available tools and information is key to making an accurate diagnosis.

Dr. Yaroslav Shpak – cardiologist

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