Blog - The Art of Taking a History

The Art of Taking a History

I hope this isn't a lost art because if done correctly you can find out what is wrong with you a lot faster than whenyou go to a doctror who blindly orders tests?

Dr Moloney did an information evening for some local medical professionals a litlte while ago and it was very informative.  He says that the way he was trained is that if you take a medical history correctly you know wtih almost certainty the patient's diagnosis before running a single test.  The tests that you do are merely to confirm or rule out a diagnosis.

Sometimes a patient think they have an arm or shoulder injury when it is in fact a cervical spine problem.  Depending on where the patient's pain or discomfort is gives the doctor a clue as to the part of their spine that is causing the problems.

If the history is taken correctly the doctor has already got a good idea of where the problem is and can then order the appropriate scans to have a better look at the area and decide the next step to take to help get rid of the patient's pain.

Of course, getting an accurate history is not always as easy as it sounds.  Sometimes patients forget important pieces of information or deliberately leave things out.  This is what makes it so challenging to get a diagnosis a lot of the time.  It really is an art!

If you are hoping to get the best possible treatment, the best place to start is by telling your doctor exactly what is goin on.  Even if something might be embarrassing or you think it is irrelevant (or none of their business) it could be the thing that helps the doctor reach your diagnosis and help relieve your symptoms.

If your doctor knows what he or she is doing you may have already given them the information they need!

So, next time your doctor is asking lots of questions that you think aren't relevant they might just be getting the information the need to treat your symptoms properly!

Tara

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