Each case is designed to simulate a patient encounter and includes open-ended questions. At times, the patient’s complaint differs from the issue of most concern, 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. The student should formulate his or her summary from the case before looking at the answers. A comparison with the summation in the answer help to improve one’s ability to focus on the important data while appropriately discarding irrelevant information, a fundamental skill required in clinical problem solving.
2. A straightforward answer is given to each open-ended question.
3. An analysis of the case, which consists of two parts:
a. Objectives: A listing of the two or three main principles, which are crucial for a practitioner in treating a patient. Again, the student is challenged to make educated “guesses” about the objectives of the case after an initial review of the case scenario, which help to sharpen his or her clinical and analytical skills.
b. Considerations: A discussion of the relevant points and a brief approach to a specific patient.
An approach to the disease process, consisting 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 includes several multiple-choice questions, which reinforce the material or introduce new and related concepts. Questions about material not found in the text are explained in the answers.
Clinical Pearls: A listing of several clinically important points, which are reiterated as a summation of the text and to allow for easy review, such as before an examination.