What Is a Provisional Diagnosis?

A professional’s medical diagnosis that is made on the basis of the information available at the time is called a preliminary diagnostic. When a case is first given to a clinician, a provisional diagnosis is made, and more tests or data are needed before an accurate diagnosis can be made.

Provisional denotes an existence up until a permanent replacement. Ideally, after initial testing is finished and more data is acquired, a provisional diagnosis becomes a precise diagnosis.

In some instances, doctors will provide a differential diagnosis that presents many possibilities based on the patient’s symptoms in an effort to rule out each specific possibility and diagnose the patient.

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.

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