Nice article from Dhand et al in the journal Neurology. The authors identified six neurologists with > 10 years of experience and both interviewed and observed them in practice.
Using these experiences, they then classified the extent to which a number of major diagnoses rely on three modalities of information: clinical (history & physical), laboratory and electrodiagnostics (e.g., EMG), and neuroimaging.
Along with other results, they then present a “diagnosis cube” that visualizes how diagnosis types vary along these dimensions. Note that all diagnosis types receive a rating of “4” in the clinical category, so the variance is in the other dimensions.
It will be interesting to see whether certain diagnoses, especially psychiatric, increase in their reliance upon non-clinical information modalities as our understanding of their pathophys improves. Also of note is that Alzheimers is included as a subset of dementia, which is C4L1N2.
Dhand et al. 2013 How experienced community neurologists make diagnoses during clinical encounters. Neurology, doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182a840c7. (Image included via educational fair use.)