Clinical diagnosis by junior doctors - How confident and accurate are they

D.H. Sudusinghe, J. Indrakumar

Abstract


Objectives: Aim of this study is to determine the ability of junior doctors to document a clinical diagnosis and accuracy of the diagnosis.

Methods: This single centre study included case records of patients admitted to the Professorial Medical Unit (PMU) and Emergency Treatment Unit (ETU) at Colombo South Teaching Hospital (CSTH). The junior doctors’ on admission diagnosis is compared with the medical consultants’ diagnosis. Only case records of patients belonging to four common specialty domains were studied.

Results: In the PMU out of 200 case records no diagnosis or symptom as a diagnosis was documented in 99(49.5%) cases and a diagnosis was documented in 68(34.0%) case records of which 53(77.9%) diagnoses were concordant with the medical consultants’ diagnosis. When case records of patients admitted to ETU were considered, no diagnosis or symptom as a diagnosis was documented in 56(56.0%) case records and a diagnosis was documented in only 21(21.0%) case records of which 15(71.4%) diagnoses were concordant with the medical consultants’ diagnosis. Documentation of correct diagnosis improved with the grade of the doctor, from IMO to MR in both study settings and also with the order of clerking.

Conclusions: Recording of symptom based diagnosis or no diagnosis remains high among most of the junior doctors in all specialty domains and at all grades.


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Proceedings of Annual Scientific Sessions of Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardeneprua, Sri Lanka