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Diagnostic tips


Reducing medical-legal difficulties

The CMPA's experience


Red flag against sky backgroundThe presence of certain "red flag"
Red flag:  A non-specific finding (e.g. symptom, risk factor, sign, or test result) that increases the suspicion for the presence of a particular medical condition.
 findings may prompt experienced physicians to accept or rule in a serious specific diagnosis. Yet even experienced physicians are often surprised by the range of the symptoms and signs of diseases.

The following tips collected from CMPA's medical-legal case files will help you avoid common problems related to the diagnostic process.

History taking

Female physician speaking with elderly female patient
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Physical examination

Female physician listening to female patient's breathing
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Differential diagnosis

Group of physicians listening to male physician
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Formulating a diagnosis

Text books with page makers
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Ordering investigations

Stethoscope on requisition form
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Summary of diagnostic tips (PDF).Opens in new window

Model of head with multiple words written on itFor more information about influences on reasoning and decision making see cognitive biases in Human factors domain.