As telemedicine replaces the physical exam, what are doctors missing?

Video call with doctor

Virtual medical appointments are more common since the coronavirus pandemic began. But without physical exams, doctors may miss certain diagnoses and miss out on building relationships with patients.

Despite a foothold in medicine that predates Hippocrates himself, the traditional physical exam might be on the verge of extinction. The coronavirus crisis has driven more routine medical appointments online, accelerating a trend toward telemedicine that has already been underway.

This worries Dr. Paul Hyman, author of a recently published essay in JAMA Internal Medicine, who reflects on what’s lost when physicians see their patients almost exclusively through a screen.

A primary care physician in Maine, Hyman acknowledges he’d already begun second-guessing routine physicals on healthy patients as insurance requirements pushed doctors away from them.

But while Hyman is now providing mostly telemedicine, like many doctors during the pandemic, he writes that he has gained a clearer sense of the value of the age-old practice of examining patients in person. He notes the ability to offer reassurance, be present for his patients and find personal fulfillment as a doctor.

Continue reading… “As telemedicine replaces the physical exam, what are doctors missing?”

AI-Human “hive mind ” diagnoses pneumonia

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First, it correctly predicted the top four finishers at the Kentucky Derby. Then, it was better at picking Academy Award winners than professional movie critics—three years in a row. The cherry on top was when it prophesied that the Chicago Cubs would end a 108-year dry spell by winning the 2016 World Series—four months before the Cubs were even in the playoffs. (They did.)

Now, this AI-powered predictive technology is turning its attention to an area where it could do some real good—diagnosing medical conditions.

In a study presented on Monday at the SIIM Conference on Machine Intelligence in Medical Imaging in San Francisco, Stanford University doctors showed that eight radiologists interacting through Unanimous AI’s “swarm intelligence” technology were better at diagnosing pneumonia from chest X-rays than individual doctors or a machine-learning program alone.

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Three out of four terminal cancer patients believe a cure is possible

A large majority of patients who receive this news don’t fully comprehend it, or perhaps willfully choose to ignore it.

Often times doctors are called on to deliver bad news to patients.  And when they deliver that news it doesn’t get much worse than hearing a diagnosis of an advanced-stage cancer for which there is no cure.

 

 

 

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Five Minute Questionnaire is Accurate Enough to Diagnose Autism in 1 Year Old Children

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Parents are asked about a child’s eye-gaze and other forms of age-appropriate communication.

Parents can fill out a five-minute questionnaire that is accurate enough to diagnose autism in children as young as one in three-quarters of the cases, claims study.

 

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