The process of clerking routine pre-operative admissions involves the house officer taking a full medical history and performing a full physical examination. The diagnostic yield is thought to be low, and the educational value to the house officer is also small. This study addresses the question as to whether routine physical examination is always indicated.
One hundred and nine children admitted for routine Otolaryngology procedures were prospectively studied to identify the importance of examination in the pre-operative assessment of patients.
The results showed that 51 per cent of the children admitted had risk factors. The medical history was sufficient to identify these risk factors in all patients with the exception of one cardiac condition.
This study concludes that a suitable alternative to the current process of clerking such as a standardized nurse history could be safely and efficiently undertaken. Eliminating the tiny percentage of previously unrecognized disease would be a prerequisite for such a change.