Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Underlying "Diagnostic Disability".

I recently came to realize that there is an underlying problem within the health care system istelf that leads to more challenges for those seeking our "professional expert guidance". Like most of my "revelations", this came to me by chance through some recommended reading given to me by a collegue (gracias, Daiana!). This very insightful articles effectively describes that one of the main challenges to overcome is our inability to establish a "common language" among rehabilitation professionals. In effect, we are "diagnostically disabled". As explained in the article, the role as diagnostician for the physical therapist is quite challenging and is met with many dilemma's such as lack of consensus among professionals regarding classification, rapid evolution of new knowledge, and the complexity of the diagnostic process. I believe this is at the heart of a fundamental "dysfunctional attitude" among professionals. There is a constant sense of "competition for diagnosis" which inevitably leads to more confusion and frustration for the care-seeker. They are given different and sometimes conflicting information depending on who they refer to. The neurologist will make his / her comments...which may differ from the orthopedic surgeon...then when it comes to the physical therapist, he or she is commited to a plan of action that is contraindicated by the surgeon or even perhaps counter-intuitive to the care-seeker himself!

The article below is an excellent example of how self-examination and consistent search for solutions from within can result in significant positive impact, not only on a personal practice, but on the system as a whole. It also presents some constructive ideas on how to reduce the negative implications of this diagnostic disability on the care-seeker. It was a refreshing read and re-affirmed to me that constructive information can come from anywhere at any keep your eyes peeled and, more importantly, your mind OPEN!.

Disabling Our Diagnostic Dilemmas


  1. Perhaps, Gavin, there is little value to diagnosis and it may be a waste of valuable time. Diagnosis means a label and a label results in a prescriptive pattern of treatment based upon one's theoretical model. Diagnosticians rarely think outside their educational models. If you know the body, you don't need to cut, drug, or splint it. Slowly, non-invasively rebuild it ... must be ABR flooding my thoughts.

  2. Very good point, Phil. I agree 100%. In the ABR sense, it is indeed a waste of valuable best it is a secondary consideration. Outside of this context, the unfortunate reality is that there is an inordinate amount of importance placed on diagnosis...which isnt likely to change in the near future. Therefore, as a bridge to this ideal future, an organized effort to change the "how we diagnose" will help move things forward. I would consider you (and Team Adam) exceptionally discussions like these are trivial sometimes! All the best!