Residency

Revisiting the physical

Residency Program Insider, May 23, 2014

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Recently trained physicians may be the most tech-savvy generation of doctors, but medical educators fear they may lack the skills to make diagnoses with physical exams.

A recent Kaiser Health News article considers the effects of the loss of physical exam skills among clinicians as a new doctors learn to diagnose using technology, data, and standardized patients. Some medical educators say overreliance on technology can cause physicians to miss obvious problems and disconnects doctors from their patients.
 
In response, some universities have made efforts to revive teaching physical exam skills to medical students. Stanford Medicine now requires students to learn and teach 25 critical physical examination skills and John Hopkins created a Web-based program to improve young physicians’ stethoscope skills.
 
However, not all medical educators think teaching physical exams is the best use of valuable time and resources. Robert Wachter, the former chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine, told Kaiser Health News that, “Taking time and energy to train doctors in the physical exam may be less valuable than teaching them how to communicate or to analyze . . . data."

 

 



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