What are non-human methods of medical diagnosis called? For example, a cat scan or blood work vs a physician's verbal shot in the dark during a ten minute office visit? To narrow the question this is specifically for diseases.

  • I don't think there is a single term in English to describe such things. The closest I can think of would simply be "tests." You can get more specific by saying things like "lab tests" or "imaging studies" but I don't think there's a single word that encompasses all the different types of tests.
    – Carey Gregory
    Jun 24, 2016 at 15:54
  • 3
    A physician's verbal shot in the dark? And how would a physician, without proper anamnesis, know which further tests are necessary? In fact it is the incomplete anamnesis that often leads to wrong diagnosis. If physicians were irrelevant, we could be entirely treated by robots now couldn't we?
    – Lucky
    Jun 25, 2016 at 17:38
  • Agreed, 'tests' - or 'procedures' - are a general enough description. Dec 27, 2016 at 12:02

2 Answers 2


As far as I know, there is NO non-human medical method for a definite diagnosis of diseases accepted in any well known medical center as of 27. 09. 2016.

Medical history and physical examination are performed by doctors. X-ray, CT, MRI, lab tests or even calculations performed by computer programs are usually ordered and interpreted by doctors. It is not a CT machine that tells you a diagnosis, it is a doctor who knows how to read a CT image and make a diagnosis from it.

Sometimes, you may be able to self-diagnose a disease, but this is still human diagnosis.

Related terms are "diagnostic robot," "computer diagnostic tools," "diagnostic software," "machine learning," etc.

  • I think you misread the question. I don't think OP is asking about devices that literally diagnose, but rather just the terminology of distinguishing between a diagnosis based on machine test results vs. a diagnosis based purely on physical exam and history. (And I don't fully agree that machines don't diagnose. They can and they do, but that's beside the point.)
    – Carey Gregory
    Sep 28, 2016 at 4:50

There isn't always A test that can definitively diagnose a disease. Sometimes it takes a combination of tests and the doctor's knowledge of the possibilities for your symptoms. If your dr doesn't listen to you, find another one who will. That isn't always easy as I can attest, but it's worthwhile trying.

  • 1
    This doesn't really address the question. The question is looking for a word, not advice.
    – Carey Gregory
    Jun 30, 2016 at 1:11

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