A variety of factors, including medical history, family medical history, patient reports, diagnostic tests and physical examination, go into a physician being able to make an accurate diagnosis, according to Encyclopaedia Brittanica. This is one reason that accurate symptom reports from patients are vital when visiting a doctor.
When the doctor gets all the information, he can make a diagnosis, indicates WebMD. Patients should understand that simply reading imaging results and lab results doesn't necessarily mean a diagnosis has been made, suggests Spine Health. For example, if an imaging scan finds a herniated spinal disk, that is the radiology finding, but not the clinical diagnosis, according to Spine Health. The doctor also must consider the patient's report of pain and other symptoms to make a clinical diagnosis.
The doctor might decide that more tests are necessary if the diagnosis is still uncertain, according to Encyclopaedia Brittanica. As the doctor works to come up with an accurate diagnosis, his medical training helps him decide on a diagnosis. A report by U.S. News suggests that clinical experience isn't the only factor that can affect a patient's diagnosis. The biases of the doctor and his way of thinking also can have an effect on whether a diagnosis is accurate.