What is a Diagnostic Set?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Different diagnostic sets can be used to examine the throat, ears, nose and eyes of a patient.
Different diagnostic sets can be used to examine the throat, ears, nose and eyes of a patient.

A diagnostic set is a set of medical instruments which are used to look into the eyes, ears, nose, and throat. Commonly, the set consists of a single instrument with configurable parts which can be used for all four functions, making it easy for a physician to use and carry a diagnostic set. Others may have two instruments, with the ophthalmoscope for the eyes being separate. Some doctors maintain their own, while others take advantage of diagnostic sets which are used to stock exam rooms and clinic suites.

Doctors use otoscopes to examine the ears.
Doctors use otoscopes to examine the ears.

Devices used for looking into the eyes are known as ophthalmoscopes, while otoscopes can be used to peer into the ears. The design includes a base attached to a strong light source and a magnifying glass which can be used to clearly visualize the area of interest, with speculums for peering into the ears and up the nose. The speculum is removed to look into the throat or eyes.

When examining the mouth and throat, a doctor may depress the tongue to look into the mouth.
When examining the mouth and throat, a doctor may depress the tongue to look into the mouth.

A doctor can use a diagnostic set in a routine exam to assess the health of these areas, and to look for specific clues to a patient's medical condition. For example, if a patient complains of ear pain, the doctor would use the otoscope to look into the ears for signs of inflammation and other issues which could cause the ears to feel painful.

The speculums used are changed between uses to eliminate the risk of transmitting disease, and the diagnostic set can be wiped down between patients as well. In addition to being used with basic attachments, the diagnostic set can include tools which as wide speculums which allow doctors to insert tools through the speculum into the area, along with an array of magnifying glasses which will allow the doctor to see different areas of magnification, and polarizing filters for eye exams.

Doctors may use a diagnostic set during a routine examination.
Doctors may use a diagnostic set during a routine examination.

Medical supply companies carry several styles and designs of diagnostic set, including versions scaled for pediatric use. It is also possible to order these tools directly from the manufacturer. Optics companies tend to produce sets of the highest quality, because they are used to designing devices which are used for precision tasks, and some doctors develop a preference for products from a particular company.

A new doctor may appreciate a diagnostic set as a graduation gift, although gift givers may want to confirm that the tool is genuinely needed, and find out if the doctor has a preference for a particular style or brand. Gift certificates to medical supply companies which stock stethoscopes, diagnostic sets, and similar tools may also be appreciated.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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    • Different diagnostic sets can be used to examine the throat, ears, nose and eyes of a patient.
      Different diagnostic sets can be used to examine the throat, ears, nose and eyes of a patient.
    • Doctors use otoscopes to examine the ears.
      Doctors use otoscopes to examine the ears.
    • When examining the mouth and throat, a doctor may depress the tongue to look into the mouth.
      When examining the mouth and throat, a doctor may depress the tongue to look into the mouth.
    • Doctors may use a diagnostic set during a routine examination.
      Doctors may use a diagnostic set during a routine examination.