Medical Diagnostics for Engineers
The non-imaging medical diagnosis course provides a review and synthesis of information learned in the other required medical engineering courses and requires extensive reading in Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, a highly regarded medical reference book. The student is taught how to extract a clinical quality differential diagnosis of common patient complaints. Standard clinical practice is covered using organ system review as the organizing theme. A patient complaint is selected from each organ system and a student presents his differential diagnosis to the class. This allows the student to practice basic written (SOAP notes) and verbal clinical communication (case presentation) which so important in the practice of modern medicine. The course does not emphasize memorization as a normal medical course would but instead emphasizes the use of medical reference look-up as a way to obtain clinical knowledge rapidly. The course stresses the importance of looking at each patient complaint from a comprehensive prospective before focusing on a specific diagnosis. For example, chest pain is not always caused by the heart but also stomach, lungs and chest wall to name a few. As an engineer designing ultrasound equipment, the more global view of the chest pain complaint may result in more “solutions” from the same piece of medical equipment.
Topics covered in this course are contained in the attached syllabus, which essentially covers much of the material presented during the second year of medical school in a survey form. The required reading is extensive covering approximately 300 pages of material a week. The course material for the course are all new since this course is taught from a completely different perspective than a normal medical course. The material was well received by the students and will continue to be refined in future years.