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Paper describes a study of the impact of a particular type of diagnostic procedure when used for the purpose of patient reassurance.
There has been little research into how doctors work with diagnostic technology and how patients respond Echocardiography (ultrasonic imaging of the heart) is an important non-invasive imaging test which is of great value in the diagnosis of heart disease Like other imaging tests, it is often used to exclude the possibility of disease in the hope of reassuring the patient Clinical experience suggests that there are serious pit falls in the use of echocardiography for purposes of reassurance which are also likely to apply to other imaging investigations
We studied this application of echocardiography in 40 patients using methods of analysis which were largely qualitative-based on tape-recordings of consultations and of unstructured interviews with doctors and patients and a clinical questionnaire involving 40 patients Important problems which emerged were that:
These results have practical implications relating to the use of imaging investigations in medical practice, to the education of students with regard to heart murmurs and to the evaluation of medical technology
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