Clinical problem solving or diagnostic reasoning is the skill that physicians use to understand a patient’s complaints and then to identify a short, prioritized list of possible diagnoses that could account for those complaints. This differential diagnosis then drives the choice of diagnostic tests and possible treatments. Despite striking advances in information technology, clinical problem solving has not yet been effectively replicated by computers, making it essential that clinicians work to develop expertise in this very important skill set. While television shows make this seem like a magical process, work done by cognitive psychologists and medical educators has helped us understand the ways in which expert physicians reason through these difficult problems to help their patients.
This course will examine the ways physicians think about clinical problem solving and will help participants develop competence in the building blocks of clinical problem solving. The professor will use cases to illustrate different reasoning strategies and will discuss how both correct and incorrect diagnoses result from these strategies. Participants will use sample clinical cases to practice what they have learned through the lectures. Finally, the professor will discuss strategies to help students and young physicians read textbooks and articles in a way that enhances their ability to use information in the clinical environment.
Module 1: How experts understand diseases and how to read like an expert to form disease based illness scripts.
Module 2: How experts analyze their patient' problems: processing and the patient illness script.
Module 3: Using disease and patient illness scripts to prioritize differential diagnostic possibilities into tiers of probability
Module 4: Understanding how diagnostic tests can be appropriately used to improve diagnostic accuracy.
Module 5: Diagnostic Mistakes: how they happen, how you can avoid them and how to find them once they occur.
Module 6: How our clinical problem solving strategies can be used to write good test questions, perform well on tests, and teach others to do well too.
Peter is taking this course right now, spending 1 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
My review is based on how the course was advertised and then once I got in finding it was very different than how it was marketed. It was advertised that if you wanted to learn or improve your critical thinking skills and were in the healthcare field, one would benefit from this class.
However, getting into the class finding out it is geared towards only those who can make a medical diagnosis (something a nurse or nursing student -- I'm a nursing student - is not allowed to do in practice). Based on what I saw, if you are a medical student going towards being a doctor, a vet, etc. who will be involved in making a medical diagnosis, this class will be of value.
If you are going for a profession where it would be incorrect for you to make a medical diagnosis, such as a nurse, then avoid this class.
Although this course is for medical students and doctors, lay persons like me could follow it well, thanks to the clarity of the teaching. Fascinating for anyone who wants an understanding of the thought process of doctors and the inherent challenges.