In an era driven by new technologies, revolutions in diagnostic imaging, responsibility delegated to secondary clinicians, the necessity of universal precautions, and the confounding effects of economics on medicine, it must be asked: “Has the physical examination become a relic of the past?” As a newly minted physician, I reflect on my medical school experience and recognize shortcomings in the teaching of this tried-and-true facet of medicine. The physician with a bulging black medical bag is more symbol than reality, while today's physician struggles to hold stethoscope, reflex hammer, and penlight in the pockets of his or her white coat. Editors Berg and Worzala identified a shortage in the medical literature specifically focusing on how to teach the physical examination and as a result compiled the Atlas of Adult Physical Diagnosis to address this integral component of medicine.
Eagen K. Atlas of Adult Physical Diagnosis. JAMA. 2008;300(11):1358-1359. doi:10.1001/jama.300.11.1358