How to understand medical decisions

Which finding(s) were used to monitor the progress of the diagnosis?

The answer to the above question may describe any of the findings associated with the diagnosis.  If the condition is producing marked symptoms, then these symptoms will have to be monitored carefully and changes may ahve to be made to the treatment if the patient is still uncomfortable.  


In some cases, there will be no symptoms and other measurements will have to be made e.g. blood sugar or the blood pressure.  Measurements are particularly helpful because they can detect change in a more sensitive way and so even if the symptoms are being monitored it also helps to get measurements that can show changes more sensitively.  It is important to base the use of test results on research that confirms that the test results predict accurately what the patient is feeling or will feel.


A diagnosis is the title to what a doctor thinks is wrong but not only during a snapshot of one point in time.  The analysis should consider how the process started, its present state and what might happen in future with or without intervention.  It is very important to keep reviewing the process to build up a complete picture of the progress of the process.  This can be done by monitoring any the findings associated with the diagnosis to see how things are changing.


The most important features for the patient’s point of view are his or her symptoms e.g. pain and disability.  However, it is also important to monitor other processes of which the patient is unaware, especially if they are easy to measure, for example, blood sugars in a diabetic as these may give advance warning of unpleasant symptoms e.g. the effects of a low blood sugar.  


© Huw Llewelyn 2016