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Diagnosis is the identification of the nature and cause of a certain phenomenon. Diagnostics is used in many different disciplines with variations in the use of logic, analytics, and experience to determine “cause and effect”. In systems engineering and computer science, it is typically used to determine the causes of symptoms, mitigations, and solutions.

Diagnosis is often challenging because many signs and symptoms are nonspecific. For example, redness of the skin (erythema), by itself, is a sign of many disorders and thus doesn’t tell the healthcare professional what is wrong. This differential diagnosis, in which several possible explanations are compared and contrasted, must be performed. This involves the correlation of various pieces of information followed by the recognition and differentiation of patterns. Occasionally the process is made easy by a sign or symptom (or a group of several) that is pathognomonic.

Diagnosis is a major component of the procedure of a doctor’s visit. From the point of view of statistics, the diagnostic procedure involves classification tests.