Data are everywhere. But in medicine, data aren’t everything.
From online symptom-checking websites to web-based professional medical resources, both patients and practitioners are able to answer many of their medical questions with the click of a mouse or touch of a screen. For those questions that require further investigation, new laboratory tests and high-tech medical imaging can help support (or refute) potential diagnoses.
Yet some diagnoses fall through the cracks of these modern investigative tools.
For example, a patient who walks in with abdominal discomfort and irregular bowel habits may ultimately walk out several visits later with a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)—a gastrointestinal disorder that may affect up to 10% of the global population. This syndrome is typically not associated with any abnormalities on x-rays, invasive procedures, or lab tests.