Limits of Morphological Diagnostics
Background: Morphological findings have in medical diagnostics a particularly high significance. In most of diseases they are regarded as “gold standard” and as a benchmark for the results of other methods of examination. The basis of morphological diagnostics is the intuitive pattern recognition leading either to a definite medical diagnosis or to a differential diagnosis. The clarification of the differential diagnosis may be assisted by algorithms and other decision making methods.
General survey: Morphological diagnostics encounters epistemological, individual, methodological, communicative, economical and ethical limits of. Objective limits result from cognitive science and methodology. A fundamental methodological limit consists in the static method of approach to a dynamic process. Subjective limits are the result of individual differences in diagnostic capabilities and in deficiencies in the communication between pathologists and clinicians.
Conclusions: The limits of morphological diagnostics cannot be suspended but they may be shifted outwards. Deficiencies in morphological diagnostics may be negotiated by training and experience. Telepathology, digital pathology and virtual microscopy are valuable tools to improve the quality of morphological diagnostics.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 1763, 53: p. 370 – 418
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