This ninety minute session seeks to provide a systematic framework for medical students relatively new to the differential diagnosis process. Via a combined lecture/case-based approach, the session presents basic clinical reasoning concepts and specific heuristics to guide the differential process followed by an opportunity to apply the tools to simulated pediatric cases. It also introduces the concept of cognitive biases and presents strategies to mitigate their effects. The session has been successfully used with third year medical students during the first week of their pediatrics clerkship. However, with minor adaptation, a similar approach could be used at other levels of medical training or in other clinical settings.
For over 4 years, this session has been given to third year pediatric clerkship students at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, during the first week of their pediatric clerkship at Children's National Medical Center. Between 25-35 students typically participate in the session. Students are asked to provide feedback about teaching effectiveness, and the session has routinely been very well received with average ratings over 4.8 out of 5 (maximum).
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Waldman Z, Ottolini M. Differential diagnosis: approaches and pitfalls - a pediatric case-based session for 3rd year medical students. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2013;9:9640. http://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9640