Physicians beat symptom checkers in test of diagnostic accuracy

HM Epstein hmepstein at GMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 11 04:18:07 UTC 2016

Modern Healthcare's analysis of today's research letter in JAMA Internal Medicine states that while participating physicians beat the symptom checkers in identifying the correct Dx (which includes listing it in the top three possible diagnoses), they were still off too often. 

"The physicians listed the correct diagnosis first across all cases 72.1% of the time, while symptom checkers listed the correct diagnosis first only 34% of the time, according to the research letter.

Physicians also listed the correct diagnosis in their top three diagnoses 84.3% of the time, while symptom checkers included the correct condition in the top three 51.2% of the time."

As a patient, I'm depressed that physicians got the correct Dx less than 3/4 of the time. It's more significant to me than the higher results achieved for naming it in the top three possibilities, because patients rarely hear the alternatives unless they specifically ask "What else could it be?" To be fair, the lack of physical exams is a noteworthy element. 

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Moderator: David Meyers, Board Member, Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine

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