Case reports essentially contribute to the discovery and knowledge of diseases, diagnostics and therapies. Case reports are regarded as cornerstones of medical progress. They can present patient relevant information directly from the “point of care” – regarding established and potentially new interventions, regarding side effects and toxic reactions as well as newly discovered, unusually presented or rare diseases, complex disease situations, individualized treatments, patient-centered care, and important subjective meanings of disease for the individual patient. Case reports link evidence-based medicine to the specific patient care. Also for assessing treatment guidelines in daily care, case reports can be an important information tool.
The basis of high quality case reports is the completeness and transparency of the information, but also the principle of good clinical judgment. Good clinical judgment is the core of medical professionalism. Its key features are profound knowledge, medically and scientifically trained reasoning, precise observation, tacit knowledge, reflection-in-action and stature recognition. Consensusbased guidelines have been developed (CAseREporting Guidelines) in order to improve the quality of case reports, the completeness and transparency of information. They will help, so that high quality case reports, single case studies and qualitative research can provide important clinical observations to be integrated systematically into future knowledge development.
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