Handwritten undergraduate case reports

K. McGlade, C. Cargo, D. Fogarty, M. Boohan, M. McMullin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: This article describes a 'back to the future' approach to case 'write-ups', with medical students producing handwritten instead of word-processed case reports during their clinical placements. Word-processed reports had been found to have a number of drawbacks, including the inappropriate use of 'cutting and pasting', undue length and lack of focus. Method: We developed a template to be completed by hand, based on the hospital 'clerking-in process', and matched this to a new assessment proforma. An electronic survey was conducted of both students and assessors after the first year of operation to evaluate impact and utility. Results: The new template was well received by both students and assessors. Most students said they preferred handwriting the case reports (55.6%), although a significant proportion (44.4%) preferred the word processor. Many commented that the template enabled them to effectively learn the structure of a case history and to improve their history-taking skills. Most assessors who had previously marked case reports felt the new system represented an improvement. The average time spent marking each report fell from 23.56 to 16.38minutes using the new proforma. Discussion: Free text comments from the survey have led to the development of a more flexible case report template better suited to certain specialties (e.g. dermatology). This is an evolving process and there will be opportunities for further adaptation as electronic medical records become more common in hospital.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-118
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Teacher
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Review and Exam Preparation


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