Med Teach. 2020 Jul 29:1-3. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2020.1798368. Online ahead of print.
Bedside skills have been declining over the last two decades, with multiple studies reporting increasing reliance on investigations and technology in making diagnostic decisions. During the Covid-19 crisis, even less time is spent at the bedside, and physical examinations seem markedly truncated or non-existent. It is possible that cost of health care, doctor-patient relationships, and the clinical reasoning skills could be seriously impacted by ongoing decrease in bedside skills and the teaching of these skills. Careful history taking and hypothesis-driven physical examination still form the backbone of clinical reasoning and lead to parsimonious investigations. Overreliance on investigations could drive up costs of healthcare if every diagnosis depends on a head to toe scan. In this paper, we describe strategies for bedside teaching that are relevant and applicable even during the pandemic and an era of physical distancing. These strategies are categorised as: before, during and after patient interactions at the bedside. These strategies can be adapted to normal clinical teaching situations as well as challenging situations such as the current pandemic when physical distancing is mandated.