6 Steps To Getting More Accurate Medical Diagnoses

6 Steps to get more accurate medical diagnoses was just printed by US News and World Reports along with Newsday.  I was interviewed for this segment and asked to share some of the methods I developed and use to deliver the best possible results for my patients with infertility at Gold Coast IVF in Syosset, NY.  I provided tip # 1 — don’t assume just because you have been given a diagnosis that it’s complete or accurate and make sure you have a chance to share all the details of what’s happening to you with the doctor.  This is the most vital step to start the diagnostic process to help maximize results. 

Thea article describes an all too common problem I see in fertility treatments (and medicine in general) -  doctors who jump to conclusions and make diagnoses based on assumptions rather than facts- and then lead the patient down treatment paths that may not be optimal – or even correct!

The article goes on to say some doctors mistakenly decide in 18 seconds!  I usually spend more than an hour with a new infertility patient asking and listening to determine exactly what the potential issues are.  Unfortunately the article says some decide in just 18 seconds.

My Threshold First Step – Make sure you can tell your whole story- insist on an accurate diagnosis before treatments begin.  As it states in the article:

If your doctor appears to be in a rush and interrupts frequently, you’re at greater risk of being misdiagnosed. “Don’t assume that just because someone has given you a diagnosis that it’s necessarily accurate and complete,” says Dr. Steven Palter, medical and scientific director of Gold Coast IVF of Syosset, a reproductive medicine and surgery center. “The patient should communicate to the physician all of their concerns and symptoms. . . . There’s rarely only one treatment option, so the patient should ask what are the risks and benefits, and what options does the doctor have experience with and what they don’t.”

The Six Steps:

  1. Make sure you can tell your whole story
  2. Ask your doctor three questions after he or she comes up with a possible diagnosis
  3. Verify any shocking results
  4. Don’t discount doctor-patient chemistry
  5. Acknowledge your quirks
  6. Allow for the possibility of uncertainty

For an explnation of each step and thte specific questions to ask your doctor go here to Newsday for the full text of the article and the full 6 steps:

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