Writing and using case reports: what’s your top tip? #JMCRtips

Journal of Medical Case Reports has published a new thematic series all about writing and using case reports. To tell us more, Editor-in-Chief, Professor Michael Kidd, details the importance of case reports and introduces an online competition where we ask you to share your top tips with us!

As clinicians, working with our patients, we have the opportunity to make new discoveries every day about human existence, health and disease. Research in medicine often starts with observations made during patient encounters.

Each of us has an ethical responsibility to report our new discoveries and to share our new knowledge with our peers. Well-written case reports have always been a source of inspiration for clinicians and scientists seeking new ideas about clinical care and research directions.

This is why in 2007, with a group of colleagues from around the world, we founded a new medical journal, the Journal of Medical Case Reports. We were surprised to discover that this was the world’s first international medical journal devoted to publishing case reports from all clinical disciplines.

The rationale for the journal was easy. In this era of evidence-based practice, we need practice-based evidence.

We decided to publish only those case reports that are the first of their kind to be published in the English language medical literature. Each published case must add something new to medical knowledge.

And we decided to publish open access, which means that the content of the journal is available free of charge through the Internet, to ensure that our case reports are easily and freely accessible to clinicians and researchers in every nation of the world.

The rationale for the journal was easy. In this era of evidence-based practice, we need practice-based evidence. The basis of this evidence is the detailed information we obtain from each person that we see in our clinics and hospitals; the information about individual people that informs both our daily clinical care and clinical research.

Our aim is that every case report published in our journal will add valuable new information to the world’s medical knowledge.

‘A guide to writing and using case reports’ thematic series

A thematic series published today in Journal of Medical Case Reports examines how to write a case report, and considers the ways case reports can change clinical medicine.

The case reports we publish have the potential to contribute to research and change clinical practice. Accurate recounting of clinical experience continues to be essential to the progress of medicine.  For example, we have received a number of case reports related to patients who presented with new or re-emerging diseases.

Case reports can also be used to report medical errors. The lessons obtained from medical errors can be important in preventing similar problems for future patients.

Case reports can also be used to report medical errors. The lessons obtained from medical errors can be important in preventing similar problems for future patients.

We have been pleased to receive many case reports from recent medical graduates. Case reports provide an opportunity for medical students and recent graduates to start conducting research by writing up their own clinical observations about individual patients as part of their training in evidence-based practice.

We believe that it is time for case reports to be considered first class citizens in the medical literature. We are committed to ensuring the quality of our publication through the quality and likely clinical impact of the case reports and case series published in the Journal of Medical Case Reports, high standards of open peer review and indexing with PubMed.

How you can get involved: Competition time! 

We also want to hear your top tips when writing or using case reports and have launched a competition to identify the best tip from our readership.

We also want to hear your top tips when writing or using case reports and have launched a competition to identify the best tip from our readership.

We invite you to share your top tip via Twitter (using the hashtag #JMCRtips) by the 5th September and you could be in with a chance of winning a £50 Amazon voucher!

We hope that the case reports in our journal, this series of instructional editorials, and the tips from our readership, will continue to assist our colleagues in their daily clinical work and also serve as a source of inspiration for clinical researchers seeking ideas about new research directions.

It is a motivation for us all to know that what we observe and report today may contribute to the health and wellbeing of many other people in the future.

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