Differential Diagnosis

Core Generalist#



Define the process of clinical reasoning


Describe signs and symptoms of common conditions and important conditions to be excluded


Illustrate an understanding of clinical disease and event probabilities


Identify the system-related and cognitive causes of diagnostic errors, including cognitive bias and heuristics, and describe approaches to reducing cognitive error and improving quality of diagnosis at a healthcare organisation level



Interpret and integrate data, collect additional relevant data using hypothesis-directed inquiry strategies, and reformulate and refine working hypotheses


Formulate a concise and reasoned problem list with differential diagnoses and a management plan


Prioritise the problem list, particularly in patients with multiple medical problems


Prioritise urgency of individual investigations and treatments


Communicate with the patient, their family and carers to develop a management plan


Adapt approach to management of each disorder to take account of patient factors and co-morbidities


Record history, examination findings, synthesis, and plan for investigations and management accurately and concisely


Justify the diagnosis based on clinical information


Modify working diagnosis based on new information or response to therapy


At. 2#


At. 8#


At. 20#


Common presentations and conditions in rural contexts#

Common primary care presentations and conditions, including:

  • asthma
  • anxiety
  • atrial fibrillation/flutter
  • back complaint
  • bronchitis/bronchiolitis acute
  • depression
  • dermatitis, contact/allergic
  • diabetes
  • female genital check-up
  • gastroenteritis
  • general check-up
  • hypertension
  • immunisation
  • ischaemic heart disease
  • lipid disorder
  • malignant neoplasm of the skin
  • oral contraception
  • osteoarthritis
  • oesophageal disease
  • prescription request
  • pregnancy
  • sinusitis acute/chronic
  • sleep disturbance
  • solar keratosis/sunburn
  • test results
  • upper respiratory tract infection
  • urinary tract infections
  • vitamin/nutritional deficiency
  • viral disease

Common reasons for admission to rural hospitals, including:

  • chronic obstructive airway disease
  • asthma
  • abdominal pain
  • cellulitis
  • headache
  • digestive system disorders
  • infections
  • dementia
  • pain, and
  • alcohol intoxication or withdrawal without complication
  • trauma, fractures, lacerations, burns

Common and important health problems experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations including:

  • chronic disease; high adult and child prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidaemia and related end-organ complications such as cardiovascular, renal and eye disease

  • infectious and parasitic, such as bacterial pneumonia, scabies, impetigo, rheumatic fever, syphilis, trachoma, tuberculosis, leprosy, gonococcal disease, hookworm and strongyloidiasis

  • injury and trauma related to motor-vehicle accidents, environmental hazards, family violence and other interpersonal violence, suicide and self-harm

  • obstetrics; teen pregnancy, gestational diabetes, premature labour, IUGR faltering growth, and

  • mental health; social and emotional wellbeing problems, alcohol and substance misuse

    Presentations found more frequently in rural areas including:

  • direct zoonosis

  • tropical diseases transmitted by animals, tick and mosquitoes

  • spider bite

  • bug & marine creature bites and stings

  • vehicle and workplace trauma

Last updated on by acrrmbot