Advanced health assessment and diagnostic reasoning

Immediately after a health practitioner receives a patient, they conduct a health assessment to determine the condition of the patient. They later use their diagnostic reasoning skills to come up with a diagnosis and a treatment plan. Diagnostic reasoning is the ability to process information about the patient to discern the condition or the disease they are suffering from.

Health assessment includes the collection of data about the patient. This is done by going through their past medical records, physical examinations, and tests. A health practitioner can assess the medical history of a patient before meeting the patient. They should then prepare a set of questions to ask the patient. The questions should be followed by possible answers to guide the diagnosis. Apart from the questions, the practitioner should identify possible laboratory tests that they can conduct on the patient.

Also known as clinical reasoning, diagnostic reasoning is crucial in discerning the kind of condition a patient is suffering from. Diagnostic reasoning entails questions that run in the practitioner’s mind as they figure out what disease the patient has. The health practitioner combines physical examinations, the medical history of the patient and the signs and symptoms that a patient has to determine the disease. Differential diagnosis sets apart the signs and symptoms of one disease from another. Some diagnostic processes are complicated as the patient may depict symptoms that could lead to the diagnosis of more than one disease. Such conditions require advanced health assessment. Health practitioners are equipped with skills and knowledge on how to conduct an advanced health assessment.

Health assessment and clinical reasoning is done in steps. The first step entails gathering information about the patient. After gathering the information the practitioner should then develop a hypothesis based on the information gathered and similar situations handled in the past. They should then determine whether the information supports the hypothesis or not. The practitioner should use the hypothesis to come up with a diagnosis. They should then proceed to implement the treatment plan. If the treatment does not work, the practitioner should reassess the patient and come up with an alternative diagnosis.

Advanced health assessment and diagnostic reasoning is the ability to collect, analyze and assess data about a patient to discern the disease they are suffering from. It is conducted by health practitioners with knowledge and skills on how to conduct an advanced health assessment. The practitioner should consider the patient’s medical history, physical examination, signs, and symptoms in diagnostic reasoning.


Petersen, S. W. (2016). Advanced health assessment and diagnostic reasoning. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Kassirer, J. P. (1989). Diagnostic reasoning. Annals of internal medicine110(11), 893-900.

Davis, R. (1984). Diagnostic reasoning based on structure and behavior. Artificial intelligence24(1-3), 347-410.

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