Each case is designed to simulate a patient encounter with open-ended questions. At times, the patient’s complaint is different from the most concerning issue, and sometimes extraneous information is given. The answers are organized into four different parts:
1. Summary: The salient aspects of the case are identified, filtering out the extraneous information. Students should formulate their summary from the case before looking at the answers. A comparison to the summation in the answer will help to improve their ability to focus on the important data while appropriately discarding the irrelevant information—a fundamental skill in clinical problem solving.
2. A straightforward Answer is given to each open-ended question.
3. The Analysis of the case is composed of two parts:
a. Objectives: A listing of the two or three main principles that are crucial for a practitioner to manage the patient. Again, the students are challenged to make educated “guesses” about the objectives of the case upon initial review of the case scenario, which helps to sharpen their clinical and analytical skills.
b. Considerations: A discussion of the relevant points and brief approach to the specific patient.
Approach to the disease process consists of two distinct parts:
a. Definitions: Terminology pertinent to the disease process.
b. Clinical Approach: A discussion of the approach to the clinical problem in general, including tables, figures, and algorithms.
Comprehension Questions: Each case contains several multiple-choice questions, which reinforce the material or introduce new and related concepts. Questions about material not found in the text have explanations in the answers.
Clinical Pearls: Several clinically important points are reiterated as a summation of the text. This allows for easy review, such as before an examination.