Foundations of Clinical Medicine 2

Appropriate use of history and physical examination is essential to clinical practice. One of the most common tasks that a physician will perform is the patient interview. They will conduct between 100,000 and 200,000 patient interviews in their professional career (Nichols & Mirvis, 1998). From the medical history, physicians garner 60-80% of the information that is relevant for a diagnosis and the history alone can lead to the final diagnosis in 76% of cases (Roshan & Rao, 2000). It is “the most powerful and sensitive and most versatile instrument available to the physician” and is the cornerstone of clinical practice.