The goal of the new language is to clarify when physicians need to repeat a Pap smear. "The thought was, 'We won't bother you with satisfactory but limited by,' because basically, what do you do with it?" said Pamela Stratton, MD, chief of the gynecological consultation service at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md. The change is not expected to alter patient management, but it may force physicians to spend a little more time reading lab reports.
Doctors spend years learning how to effectively diagnose patients, a process that is equal parts art and science. In addition to reading lab reports and feeling for lumps, they also need to pick up nuances of mood, gesture, and expression. Call it the art of noticing. Medical schools understand this and often use creative ways to instill this skill in students, such as with visits to art museums where students are taught to defamiliarize themselves with what they perceive in order to see in new ways.
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However, I do prefer reading lab reports written in passive voice, as although they can be harder to read, they seem to have greater objectivity and emphasis on the scientific content such as figures of facts. I think passive voice can make lab reports sound more “professional”.