Physical Examination and Its Impact on Outcomes (The Doctor's Advocate CME)


The Doctors Company's analysis of closed claims (2009-2018) found patient assessment issues as the most common factor that contributed to patient injury in medical specialties and the third most common factor in surgical specialties. Patient assessment were closely linked to allegations related to failure, delay, or wrong diagnoses. The physical examination (PE) has always been an integral part of medical practice, but new technologies, widespread use of electronic health records, and changes in medical school curricula are contributing to its rapid decline. Advancements in technology improve the timeliness and accuracy of many diagnoses but the technology does not replace a thorough physical examination. For some diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, herpes zoster, cellulitis, and Bell’s palsy the PE is the only diagnostic tool available. This short course makes the case for reversing the downward trend for physical examinations.

Course ID #: TDE 190364.0 Issue Date: 06/11/2019 Expiration Date: 06/11/2022


After completing this activity, learners will be able to:

  • Identify the relationship between physician examinations and malpractice claims.
  • Assess their current practice for how well physical examinations support medical decisions.
  • Educate colleagues about the importance of physical examinations.


No individual in a position to control or influence the content of this activity has reported relevant financial relationships with commercial interests. No commercial support was provided for this activity.


The information and guidelines contained in this activity are generalized and may not apply to all practice situations. We recommend that legal advice be obtained from a qualified attorney for specific application to your practice. The information is intended for educational purposes and should be used as a reference guide only.

Course Developers

Howard Marcus, FACP, Internal Medicine, The Doctors Company Texas Physician Advisory Board Chairman

Darrell Ranum, JD, CPHRM, Vice President, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company

Susan Shepard, MSN, MA, RN, CPHRM, Senior Director, Patient Safety and Risk Management Education, Department of Patient Safety and Risk Management, The Doctors Company

Julie Hopkins, MA, MBA, Director, Continuing Professional Education, The Doctors Company

Continuing Education Credit

The Doctors Company is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical educational activities for physicians.

The Doctors Company designates this activity for a maximum of 0.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Complies with State Requirements

Please SEE the Federation of State Medical Boards overview of Continuing Medical Education requirements by State. 

Technical Requirements

The activity is best experienced using the most current browser: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Microsoft Edge. Internet Explorer is not supported by this platform. All activities featuring audio must have a speaker. To view graphic images and references that appear in separate "pop-up" windows, JavaScript and session cookies must be enabled on your computer. Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required for certain activities.

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact or call 800.421.2368, extension 1243.


Visit our Resource document for this program.