A Medscape.com (free login required) article discusses the Clinical Assessment of the
Reliability of the Examination (CARE) project which can be found at www.CareStudy.com. This project takes square aim at a problem many clinicians first encounter in medical school: horrendously long lists of possible signs and symptoms for a particular disease with no guidance at all as to which signs and symptoms are important and can accurately diagnose a condition. The article discusses how a textbook search of a frequently encountered disease Chronic Obstructive Airway Disease results in 40 different possible signs and symptoms. After receiving data rapidly over the Internet from actual practitioners, the CARE project was able to narrow the most important down to just four signs and symptoms. These symptoms will diagnose the condition with great accuracy and without lab tests.
The difference with the CARE approach and that of traditional clinical studies, is that CARE studies have obtained results at a 20 fold higher rate than traditional high-quality research. Traditional investigations can take years and still not result in precise criteria for accurate diagnosis. Using the Internet, groups of practicing clinicians can enter actual outcome data in only a few minutes per patient. The data is automatically collated on the CARE site, greatly increasing the speed of obtaining clinical data and results.