Transitioning from the preclinical environment to wards can be a tough but exciting time! Expectations on wards will differ with each team you work with, but at the end of the day the universal goal is to make sure the patient is getting the best care possible.
VisualDx has some unique tools that can help you stand out and shine on your clinical rotations. Here are some of my favorites:
1. The Differential Builder
As you begin your clinical rotation, you will be encouraged to see undifferentiated patients. While this is a great opportunity to get a “clean slate” and build your diagnostic reasoning skills, it can be daunting! As a student it is not important to nail the diagnosis each time; evaluators are looking for whether you can think holistically and consider a wide array of differential diagnoses and defend why one may be more likely than the other.
With VisualDx, you can enter in symptoms and it will prompt you to either pick a diagnosis or build a differential. The Differential Builder has several ways to refine the symptomatology and can help you start the brainstorming process.
2. Clinical Content
VisualDx has more than 3,000 different articles on diseases, from dermatology to internal medicine to orthopedics! The mobile app and website are very easy to use and search through for conditions you want to learn more about. For each diagnosis you’ll find general information, clinical pearls, differentials, and management.
I have found that the section can be very helpful when suggesting a potential plan for your patient and can be an easy way to score bonus points with your evaluator or start a discussion about treatments after rounds.
3. Image Filters
When a patient presents with a cutaneous disease, it can appear quite differently on different parts of the body, such as the mouth or hands. With VisualDx, images can be sorted based on the location on the body as well as skin type, which can be helpful when determining if a differential diagnosis “looks” like what you think your patient has. Sometimes you can even see images of histopathology or radiological findings—which can be great for learning as well.
4. Patient Handouts
Patient handouts can be especially helpful in outpatient settings where we can spend a lot of time counseling patients on next steps. All this information can be hard to remember! Giving patients a handout with some general information on their condition as well as treatment options is a great way to leave them with something they can reference later. Not every diagnosis has a handout available, but the most common ones do.
Look for an icon near the top of the article page to find the Patient Handout, which can either be printed or emailed. Some articles are even available in Spanish!
These are some of my favorite ways to use VisualDx on clinical rotations. It has helped me with coming up for treatment ideas in my plans for rounds, come up with vast differentials, as well as provide patients with more information.
The best way to shine on a clinical rotation is to take the best care of the patient and I have found VisualDx to be an easy-to-use tool with several ways to go above and beyond for my patients. Good luck with your rotations!
Mavra Masood is a 4th-year medical student at Virginia Commonwealth University and a VisualDx Ambassador.