How to format and write a clinical medical case study

Updated November 21, 2016

Case studies are a valuable learning tool in the medical profession. They provide information that may enhance health care in general or improve medical practice by nurses and doctors. Clinical medical case studies typically follow a writing format consisting of title page, abstract, introduction, case presentation, findings, discussion and acknowledgements. Case studies may also include photographs, tables, graphs or figures to explain results. The information in case studies may be helpful to medical professionals as well as to patients themselves.

Write the full article title, which is about eight or nine words long on a title page for your case study which includes the word "case" in it such as case report, case study or case series. List the authors names and home/office contact information for each author. Put key words that anyone might use to look up such a case study on the Internet. Medical subject headings are available online at the U.S. National Library.

Compose your case study introduction in relation to a social or historical context and mention any recent case studies that may be similar and cite that reference. Describe any challenges involved in the diagnosis or treatment of that condition. The general point of the introduction, which is about one or two paragraphs, is to explain to reader why this case may be of use to them as a medical professional.

Explain the patient's complaint in their own words and how a diagnosis was decided upon based on the symptoms. Name any diagnostic tests that were used such as X-rays, blood/urine analysis, MRI, CAT scans or ultrasound. Describe any treatments utilised in detail and patient outcome. Discuss any further questions or necessary research this case study raises. Summarise why this case study is important and how it may influence the medical profession, nurses or doctors or the treatment of the condition.

Provide acknowledgements to thank anyone who assisted you directly in the case study. Cite up to fifteen references you used in supporting your case study, however, try not to use textbooks as most readers would have access to that information. Any illustrations, photos or tables should have a short description and be located at the end of the case study. If you borrow figures, tables or photos from other publications, you should include a publisher's letter of permission. When you use photos that might identify a patient, you need to obtain their permission.

Compose an abstract for your case study article. You may or may not choose to use subheadings when describing the study in a condensed version. The abstract should start with a brief introduction followed by the case presentation which explains the procedures involved, the patient's diagnosis and the management of the patient's treatment. Cite the medical issue and outcome measures to describe any changes in the patient's condition. Discuss any correlations or inconsistencies and how your case study may influence medical practice.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Dawn Sutton began her writing career in 2004 with an article on Internet counseling for a psychology journal. She writes numerous Internet articles on a variety of subjects including health, travel, education, crafts and much more. Sutton has published the books "The Manual" and "God's Girl" and numerous feature film scripts. She has a master's degree in social work from the University of Toronto.