Terminology Series #3: Signs vs. Symptoms

Posted by on Sep 26, 2011 in Blog, Medical Conditions/Terminology Blog Series

Do You Speak Sign Language? The Difference Between a Sign & a Symptom The terms, signs and symptoms, refer to distinct medical terms with different medical meanings—even so, patients and the typical layperson frequently confuse the two.  Even healthcare professionals may slip-up and use the words interchangeably. http://www.solvexia.com/www/cheapest payday advanceonline payday loan direct lenders onlydirect personal loan lenderscredit score thereby Symptoms – A Personal Patient Experience Only patients themselves can experience symptoms firsthand.  Symptoms represent the concerns, feelings, aches, pains or reactions that compel patients to make an appointment with their doctor in the first place.  Common medical symptoms used by patients to describe their unique physical complaints, or feelings, to a physician include things like fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, or a sore throat. Signs – A Physician’s Diagnostic Tool Medical signs represent objective physiological patient conditions the doctor can detect or measure. When patients listen to their own bodies and verbalize their subjective symptoms, it then becomes the doctor’s job to find and interpret any relevant medical signs. Examples of signs include a patient’s measured body temperature, blood pressure, a visibly red or swollen throat, and anything else a physician can objectively observe, detect, or measure. Symptoms and Signs – A Great Team During a physician examination, the doctor uses his specialized knowledge and experiential skills and equipment to objectively measure, detect, or observe signs and conditions that could possibly cause the patient’s symptoms. For example, if a patient tells his doctor that he feels hot, the doctor can both physically touch the patient’s skin and take a temperature measurement to determine if he has a fever.   The heat, or flushing, experienced by the patient is a symptom; the fever, objectively observed and measured by the doctor, is a sign of a larger medical condition causing the fever. Physician Knowledge and Experience – Team Quarterback Physicians use their extensive didactic training, combined with experiential knowledge to interpret signs and make a diagnosis. The physician makes his diagnosis based on the symptomatic complaints of the patient and his interpretation of signs he observes, detects, and measures during examination. At times, the doctor must use a little intuition when making a diagnosis or ordering further tests. For example, a patient visiting her physician with symptom complaints like chapped lips, cracked nails, and dry mouth could have the beginnings of dehydration that an alert physician will detect and treat. Or, her symptoms, along with accompanying signs, could indicate a more serious condition like diabetes or an autoimmune disorder, such as Sjogren’s Syndrome. Physician and Patient – Partners in Health Most medical conditions have both signs and symptoms that help doctors identify, diagnose, and treat them.  Development of an honest, open,...

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Five Reasons to Use NCM Services on a Workers’ Comp Case

Posted by on Sep 16, 2011 in Blog, Case Management, WC, Workers Compensation

A qualified and experienced legal nurse consultant (LNC) assists a hiring firm’s litigation team or insurance adjusters in numerous critical ways, one of which includes case management. Case management services often include managing the medical aspect of claims resulting from catastrophic events (trauma, CNS injuries); accidental injury claims; automobile and general liability claims; private health care standards claims and many more. There are multiple reasons why a Nurse Case Manager (NCM) is helpful on a case.  I have listed 5 reasons below. However, it should also be remembered that NCMs can be used in a variety of ways including- the group health setting, with catastrophic illnesses, elder care and in the public sector. Five Reasons to Use NCM Services on a Workers’ Comp Case Always bear in mind that NCM are governed by individual state laws, regulations and the standards of practice as put forth by the Case Management Society of America. Hire an NCM to elicit information from the doctor that you, as the adjustor, cannot.  Due to her medical background, the NCM can obtain more accurate and detailed information from the physician regarding treatment strategy and protocols. Hire the NCM to observe a predetermined number of doctor visits with the patient. She can talk to the physician on a peer-to-peer level; thus, gaining valuable information about his treatment plan and timeline. For example, a scenario where an Independent Medical Examiner (IME) advocates ongoing disability or off-work status for a patient with a sprain- or strain-related injury who has been down over six weeks, and relates it back to the workers’ compensation injury begs for the services of an NCM.  In addition to obtaining medical information, the mechanism of injury of the event/causation of the conditions need to be established /commented on by the physician as soon as possible. The NCM should find out the exact diagnosis and treatment plan, nature of the backup plan, whether the physician is considering referring the patient to an orthopedist for evaluation. The treating physician will see that you are actively working the file and that you will not allow ongoing failed conservative treatment strategies. In addition, early intervention and referral helps to obtain information regarding casualty issues. Hire an NCM if you’ve been assigned a claim in an unfamiliar state or region with physicians you do not know. An experienced NCM from the state or region will know the area and the doctors. Frequently, she has resources allowing quick access background information about the treating physician. Pertinent background information will include reference to the doctor’s past success with compensation claims and common treatment plans ordered. For example, although they should, some surgeons do not attempt conservative treatment plans before recommending surgery. The...

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