Diagnositician - Job Description, Duties, Education, Skills, Salary, & Growth

Diagnostician


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Job Description

A Diagnostician is a Medical Doctor who diagnoses and treats medical conditions and solves complex medical mysteries. All Doctors are technically Diagnosticians because they diagnose ailments. The unique thing about Diagnosticians who only focus on providing diagnostic testing to patients is that they are usually contained in a hospital that has an exclusive diagnostics area.

Compared to other healthcare professionals and Medical Doctors who might rotate around and perform their clinical rotations, Diagnosticians exclusively operate in a testing environment to identify new ways to accurately diagnose patients and ensure the validity of current testing procedures.

The key focus for all Diagnosticians is solving medical issues that a patient is currently facing. Solving medical issues means that Doctors must examine patients, run test, and review results to cross out all possibilities.

While some hospitals have defined and employ dedicated Diagnosticians, there is actually no clearly defined path for how to become a Diagnostician. In addition, diagnostic medicine is not a board-recognized medical specialty.

It's more of an additional thing that Medical Doctors can choose to focus in regarding their unique specialization. You just need to become a highly educated M.D. that can perform on a high level and solve complex issues. To learn more about some of the key responsibilities that Diagnosticians have throughout their role, continue reading.

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Responsibilities

Diagnosticians have a list of duties that is similar to other healthcare professionals, especially Medical Doctors. They are highly trained Medical Doctors and must function at a high level to accurately diagnose and test new procedures to make sure that they can increase the likelihood of treating a patient more efficiently and effectively with the evidence from an accurate diagnosis.

Not only must they meet and perform all the administrative duties a Doctor must, but they also have to stay current on medicine, new diseases, new techniques, and new diagnosing practices as they troubleshoot and solve sometimes complex issues.

Their duties involve but are not limited to the following:

  • Examine patients

  • Run tests

  • Review patient histories

  • Interview patient if possible

  • Find clues and fill gaps to solve problems

  • Review test results

  • Diagnose

  • Treat ailments and prescribe medication

  • Follow up

Diagnosticians are responsible for examining patients. Part of this examination process is designed to evaluate what diagnostic testing procedures they should perform to evaluate what a patient might be dealing with or what they could be suffering from. Examining patients involves asking routine questions, getting to know them, performing very basic tests to evaluate patient functionality or understand patient concerns, get an understanding of what the patient is experiencing whether it's physical or mental, and more.

The next core responsibility for Diagnosticians is to get to know the patient a little bit more through an interview process. These interviews are designed to get a better understanding of what the patient thinks they are feeling. This part of the process involves interacting with them to see if their symptoms are recent, evaluate if they changed their behavior, and more. There are plenty of different things that could lead to a patient feeling ill or develop symptoms over time, and a Diagnostician's job is to evaluate all potential reasons that a patient has developed their illness or symptoms.

For instance, interviewing a patient might identify that they've had chronic lifestyle choices that have caused them to develop a serious illness due to not treating it over time.

The next core responsibility that Diagnosticians have is to review a patient's history. For those patients that don't have much history because they haven't been to the doctor's office or undergone any procedures in the last several years, tracking a patient's history can be quite difficult. In fact, the only thing that a Diagnostician might be able to rely on is the word of the patient — and patients are notorious for trying to hide information until it's absolutely necessary to provide it.

Diagnosticians have a responsibility to act as detectives to figure out what's ailing their patient, and that might involve creating a timeline as it relates to a patient's history and their overall well-being.

Another core responsibility that Diagnosticians have is to find clues and fill those gaps that might exist so they can solve the problems that a patient is facing. This is where Diagnosticians act as detectives like we've mentioned, because patients might not always be willing to provide all the clues. Sometimes they have to get these clues and come to conclusions from their family members if they're available.

The next core responsibility that Diagnosticians have after identifying what they think might be potentially ailing a patient is to run tests. Diagnosticians have to make a decision on whether or not to run a battery of tests or curtail the number to a select few.

There are benefits to both that a Diagnostician has to consider. If a Diagnostician only orders a select number of tests, they don't have to put their patients through unnecessary tests and order things that take a long time and can lengthen the gap between the evaluation process and the treatment process.

In contrast, sometimes those individual tests that are ordered aren't good enough and often force Diagnosticians to order more tests because they don't have the information they need to make an accurate diagnosis on the first go-around. This means that they might also get a bunch of information they don't need, but could potentially have more information to make a more accurate diagnosis.

The problem is that it lengthens the process and it also costs more money for the healthcare facility and the patient. Diagnosticians need to make sound judgements when they order the tests that they want to run because the patient will ultimately have to go through the process and then pay more money in the long run. In addition, the longer each test takes to come back with the results, the longer it takes for the patient to begin feeling better.

Figuring out which tests to order and run for each patient is a balancing act that Diagnosticians need to perform to isolate the issue and get the patient back to feeling well.

Once a Diagnostician has ordered those tests, the next core responsibility that they have is to review those tests. Tests are also a great way for filling in some of those gaps that we've highlighted earlier. Tests will identify what the patient might be suffering from, and then enlighten the Diagnostician about which path they need to take to get the patient to a pathway to health.

In addition, for those questions that both the Diagnostician and the patient were incapable of finding answers, like the microscopic levels of a patient's chemical composition and such, these tests will provide some clear knowledge as to what could be affecting the patient and identify more importantly how it's affecting them on a cellular level.

Reviewing those ordered tests will paint a picture of the patient. These tests will show what the patient's biochemical structure is like, what symptoms they might be experiencing based on the results, what future problems might occur, and more.

Once a Diagnostician has thoroughly reviewed the results, the next responsibility they have is to officially diagnose the patient. This is where the years of education, training, and experience come into play for Diagnosticians as they have to evaluate all the information they have and make a diagnosis that will dictate the treatment plan for the patient.

After a diagnosis has been made, the Diagnostician is responsible for coming up with an effective treatment plan that will get the patient on the pathway to a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes the treatment plan entails a long process with significant lifestyle changes, and in other cases it might be as simple as prescribing some medication.

Diagnosticians often review previous cases or other similar treatment options before coming up with a plan for complicated cases. For common cases, Diagnosticians often have extensive experience in the treatment plans and can get back to the patient right away with the plan, which will significantly cut down on the patient turnover time.

The last and arguably the most important responsibility that Diagnosticians have is to follow up with their patients to follow how their treatment plan is going. A Diagnostician will ask important questions like: what kind of issues they are having with their treatment, what things have they noticed in their own self-care, is the treatment working properly, have they noticed significant symptom improvement, and more.

To learn more about what it takes to become a Diagnostician, take a look at our Diagnostician Career Path.

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Common Activities On The Job

For those individuals who are curious about working as a Diagnostician, there are several common activities that you can expect each day. An inside look into the common activities on the job will offer a glimpse into what the normal routine might look like, and help those individuals who are considering the career path to evaluate whether or not working as a Diagnostician is something they'd truly like to consider.

Gather Information

The most common activity that Diagnosticians do in their daily routine is to gather information. This information plays a critical role in identifying what a patient might be suffering from, and how a Diagnostician can go about remedying the issues they face and help them achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Diagnosticians will gather information from a host of sources: patient interviews, patient medical records, diagnostic tests, and more. Diagnosticians should expect to collect information from a variety of sources to get an accurate patient picture. As the healthcare industry continually evolves, the way in which Diagnosticians gather information will also inevitably change.

Care and Assist Patients

The next common activity that Diagnosticians should expect to do is to care and assist patients. Diagnosticians, like all other healthcare professionals, are responsible for caring for patients under their care. Sometimes the care they provide will also come in a variety of ways like their field of expertise, or in abstract ways like emotional support. Diagnosticians should expect to care for others each day they're on the job, either directly or indirectly.

Analyze Data

Diagnosticians will find themselves reviewing and analyzing data nearly every single day. Due to the fact that their job heavily revolves around being presented with data and then making decisions based off of that data, Diagnosticians should expect to be comfortable analyzing information from a variety of sources and then identifying how that data can impact their job and their responsibilities to care for others.

Solve Problems and Make Decisions

Every single day Diagnosticians will be tasked with solving some of the most complex problems out there — health problems. Unfortunately, not everyone can be healthy as we all get sick at one point or another in our lives. Sometimes a common illness can turn into a serious issue that needs to be solved. Luckily, that's what Diagnosticians are trained and educated in, as their main goal is to solve the problems that their patients face on a daily basis and reduce the impact long-term ailments have.

Stay Up To Date Using Relevant Industry Knowledge

The next common activity that healthcare professionals and Diagnosticians have is to stay up to date and use the relevant industry knowledge. Part of this process means that Diagnosticians are responsible for reviewing industry peer-reviewed journals, following research studies, and staying up to date on how the industry is changing. One of the great benefits of working in the healthcare industry is that it's always changing, which means there is something new to learn each day and Diagnosticians can continually improve the level of care they provide.

Develop and Keep Close Relationships

The next important daily activity that Diagnosticians can expect to do each day is to develop and keep close relationships with their patients and healthcare co-workers. When you work closely with someone, especially in something as intimate as their well-being and overall care, you tend to develop close relationships with them. Healthcare professionals and Diagnosticians will become familiar with patients and their families as they develop relationships with them and engage with them on a regular basis if their care requires it.

Maintain Accurate Patient Records

The next common activity that Diagnosticians can expect to do each day is to maintain accurate patient records. Accurate patient records help reduce patient waiting times as they are in the queue to receive care, and ensure that there is a clear track record of all the previous procedures and ailments that a patient has suffered from.

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Skills

Each healthcare position requires a series of skills and abilities that help healthcare professionals perform their duties and provide care in the most efficient manner possible. We've outlined some of the key skills that Diagnosticians need to do well in their role.

Communication

Must be able to clearly explain test results and treatment path to patients. Must correspond with other members of the medical team to ensure the best care for the patient. 

Monitoring

Monitoring/Assessing patient to make sure they are responding well to treatment and make improvements or take corrective action when necessary. 

Critical Thinking

Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Detail Oriented 

Must be able to pinpoint small details that could make or break patient diagnosis and evaluation. 

Complex Problem Solving

Must be able to identify complex problems and develop and evaluate corrective options and implement solutions. This is one of the most important functions of their job because they are the doctors that diagnose and solve hard to solve issues.

Empathy

Must be able to empathize with a patient's pain and difficulties. Need to make people feel comfortable and meet them at their emotional level to humanize themselves since they deal with serious medical needs. 

Science

Must know all about the human body and interactions it has with it's environment. Must know chemicals and reactions. Must have a high-level knowledge of all the sciences. 

Troubleshooting

Must be able to hypothesize and test theories to ensure that the proper diagnosis is found and the best treatment path is taken. 

Patience

Must be able to put in long hours and have patience when it comes to trying to solve complex medical issues. 

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Working Conditions

 

Diagnosticians work in variety of health care settings. They mainly work in hospitals where they can oversee many patients and help solve medical mysteries.

They can work in a private practice, either alone or as part of a larger medical practice group, small clinics, and other medical facilities since they are medical doctors.

Others work in research at universities and put in long hours to further medical discovery. 

Usually they can work long hours and be on-call. They have a stressful job and hold a ton of responsibilities.

They can work anywhere from 40 to 80+ hours a week depending on certain variables. It's not a job for those who can't handle pressure or hate working nights.

They can work nights, weekends, holidays-- basically any day they are needed. 

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Salary Outlook