Contemporary medicine applies health science, biomedical research, and medical technology to diagnose and treat injury and disease, typically through medication, surgery, orsome other form of therapy. The word medicine is derived from the Latin ars medicina, meaning the art of healing.
Though medical technology and clinical expertise arepivotal to contemporary medicine, successful face-to-face relief of actual suffering continues to require the application of ordinary human feeling and compassion, known inEnglish as bedside manner.
In clinical practice doctors personally assess patients in order to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease using clinical judgment. Thedoctor-patient relationship typically begins an interaction with an examination of the patient's medical history and medical record, followed a medical interview and a physicalexamination. Basic diagnostic medical devices (e.g. stethoscope, tongue depressor) are typically used. After examination for signs and interviewing for symptoms, the doctor may ordermedical tests (e.g. blood tests), take a biopsy, or prescribe pharmaceutical drugs or other therapies. Differential diagnosis methods help to rule out conditions based on theinformation provided. During the encounter, properly informing the patient of all relevant facts is an important part of the relationship and the development of trust. Themedical encounter is then documented in the medical record, which is a legal document in many jurisdictions. Followups may be shorter but follow the same general procedure.