Diagnostic Testing & Medical Decision Making: Introduction
The clinician’s main task is to make reasoned decisions about patient care based on available clinical information and estimated clinical outcomes. Although data elicited from the history and physical examination may be sufficient for making a diagnosis or for guiding therapy, more information is often required. Today's clinicians rely increasingly on diagnostic tests, and face challenges in selecting which tests to order and in interpreting test results. This chapter aims to help clinicians understand the utility as well as the limitations of diagnostic testing in clinical diagnosis and management.