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Reviving Case Reports: Chasing Zebras or Solving Mysteries?

Posted by kristobaldude on June 12, 2012

FutureDocs

I am teaching a new course this week entitled “Turning your Clinical Cases into Scholarly Work.”  I hope to draw on my own experiences through the years mentoring students and residents in writing up several clinical cases, but also in making diagnoses.  In preparing for this course, I have also learned quite a bit about the controversy surrounding case reports and the challenges that they face in today’s healthcare system. 

Unfortunately, case reports have fallen out of vogue.  Many journals no longer accept case reports or they have relegated them to the 2nd class ‘online’ only publication since they are often not highly cited and lead to a lower journal impact factor.  Critics of case reports actually say they overemphasize the unusual at the expense of the ordinary and are not evidence-based.  Furthermore, in today’s era of cost consciousness medicine, chasing ‘zebras’ or unique diagnosis is often…

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