Course Title: Differential Diagnosis in Western Medicine

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Differential Diagnosis in Western Medicine

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 1 2017

Course Coordinator: Dr George Lenon

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6587

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 202.4.51

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Note it is a condition of enrolment at RMIT that you accept responsibility for ensuring that you have completed the prerequisite/s and agree to concurrently enrol in co-requisite courses before enrolling in a course.

For your information the RMIT Course Requisites policy can be found at:;ID=twx09y07zi1c

You should have satisfactorily completed the following prerequisites before you commence this course:

BIOL2044 Human Physiology 2 - Body System 2
BIOL2275 Head and Visceral Anatomy
MEDS2050 Diagnosis in Western Medicine

Alternatively you may be able to demonstrate the required skills and knowledge before you start this course. Contact your course coordinator if you think you may be eligible for recognition of prior learning. For further information go to:

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to clinical decision making and western medical diagnosis. You will focus on clinically related knowledge and the presentations of common clinical conditions. Western medical terminology included in the course will contribute to your achievement in communication capabilities that are important in communication across disciplines in clinical practice. The learning outcomes associated with this course will enable you to identify the important issues underlying a patient’s clinical presentation including the risk factors for important/prevalent diseases, the impact of social and lifestyle choices, preventative measures and indications for referral.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning outcomes for Master of Applied Science (Acupuncture), Master of Applied Science (Chinese herbal medicine)


  • PLO2 gather clinical information to make accurate differential diagnoses, assessment and management plans and carry out effective treatment;
  • PLO3 practice as a competent health care professional in a safe, ethical and legally responsible manner;
  • PLO5 communicate effectively in a range of forms (written, online, oral) and with diverse audiences (patients, community/public,agencies and health professionals);
  • PLO6 work independently and in teams, specifically to lead and contribute to inter-professional care partnerships

On completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Identify the risk factors for important/prevalent disease processes and the impact of social and lifestyle choices and preventative measures on different diseases
  2. Apply knowledge of pathophysiological process/es to the diagnosis, investigation and management of common and important visceral disorders
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of how to establish differential and working diagnoses for common and important patient presentations, including problems “not to be missed”
  4. Identify personal and professional limitations, “red flag” presentations and indicators for referral within a framework of safe practice
  5. Describe the principles of treatment and self-care of common diseases within the context of evidence based practice.
  6. Effectively and concisely communicate the important details of a case including physical, historical and laboratory data that identify the important issues underlying a patient’s clinical presentation.

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities in this course are designed to engage you actively in the learning process, to aid development of both theoretical knowledge and clinical practice skills. Learning activities may include modalities such as lectures, tutorials, podcasts and Lectopia/Echo 360, text book readings and case presentations.

Teacher Guided Hours: 48 per semester

Learner Directed Hours: 72 per semester

Overview of Learning Resources

Lecture material will be delivered via lectures delivered face to face and via lectopia, and through in-class participation. The lectures and reading material associated with this course will include targeted readings taken from a range of both primary and secondary sources.

Lecture materials are intended to be supported by the prescribed readings. However, they do not substitute for wider reading but provide an opportunity to focus on specific details, complex areas and life examples.

A Library Guide is available at: and health sciences

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment tasks

Early Assessment Task 1: MCQ (10%)
This exam will assess your ability to recall and understand the topics covered
This assessment task supports CLOs 1-4

Assessment Task 2: Group case report (20%)
This assessment task supports CLOs 1-6

Assessment Task 3: Case Report (40%)
This assessment task supports CLOs 1-6

Assessment Task 4: MCQ Exam - End of semester (30%)
This assessment task supports CLOs 1-4