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Medicine - Definition





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Medicine - Definition

Sun, 06 Jun 2010 12:46:00 +0000

See drugs, medication, and pharmacology for substances that treat patients. This article is about medical practice. Medicine is a branch of health science concerned with restoring and maintaining health and wellness. Broadly, it is the practical science of preventing and curing diseases. However, medicine often refers more specifically to matters dealt with by physicians and surgeons. Medicine is both an area of knowledge (a science), and the application of that knowledge (by the medical profession and other health professionals such as nurses). The various specialized branches of the science of medicine correspond to equally specialized medical professions dealing with particular organs or diseases. The science of medicine is the knowledge of body systems and diseases, while the profession of medicine refers to the social structure of the group of people formally trained to apply that knowledge to treat disease. There are traditional and schools of healing which are usually not considered to be part of (Western) medicine in a strict sense (see health science for an overview). The most highly developed systems of medicine outside of the Western or Hippocratic tradition are the Ayurvedic school (of India) and traditional Chinese medicine. The remainder of this article focuses on modern (Western) medicine.History of medicineSee the main articles History of medicine and Timeline of medicine and medical technology Medicine as it is practiced now is rooted in various traditions, but developed mainly in the late 18th and early 19th century in Germany (Rudolf Virchow) and France (Jean-Martin Charcot and others). The new, "scientific" medicine replaced more traditional views based on the "Four humours". The development of clinical medicine shifted to the United Kingdom and the USA during the early 1900s (Sir William Osler, Harvey Cushing). Evidence-based medicine is the recent movement to link the practice and the science of medicine more closely through the use of the scientific method and modern information science. Genomics is already having a large influence on medical practice, as most monogenic genetic disorders have now been linked to causative genes, and molecular biological techniques are influencing medical decision-making. The practice of medicineThe medical encounter or patient-doctor relationship is an important part of what medicine is about (there are other relationships between health professionals and patients that are equally important, e.g. nurse - patient). A person with a health problem or concern sees a doctor for help. The practice of medicine combines both science and art. Science and technology are the evidence base for many clinical problems for the general population at large. The art of medicine is the application of this medical knowledge in combination with intuition and clinical judgment to determine the proper diagnoses and treatment plan for this unique patient. The doctor needs to: develop a relationship with the patient gather data (medical history and physical examination combined with laboratory or imaging studies) analyze and synthesize that data (assessment and/or differential diagnosis), and then develop a treatment plan (more testing, therapy, watchful observation, referral and follow-up). The medical encounter is documented in a medical record. One method that is used is called the problem-oriented medical record (POMR), which includes a problem list of diagnoses and a "SOAP" method of documentation for each visit: S - Subjective, the medical history of the problem from the point-of-view of the patient. O - Objective, the physical examination and any laboratory or imaging studies. A - Assessment, is the medical decision-making process including the differential diagnoses and most probable diagnoses. P - Plan, the way resolve the problem and monitor progress Medical systemsMedicine is practiced within the medical system of a particular culture or government. Leaving aside tribal cultures, the most signif[...]