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BMJ Case Reports 2013; doi:10.1136/bcr-2013-201554
  • Editorial
  • BMJ CASE REPORTS

The CARE guidelines: consensus-based clinical case reporting guideline development

Open Access
  1. 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  3. 3Institute for Applied Epistemology and Medical Methodology, University of Witten/Herdecke, Freiburg, Germany
  4. 4Centre for Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  5. 5Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  6. 6The Dartmouth Institute and Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
  7. 7Global Advances in Health and Medicine, Portland, Oregon, USA
  1. Correspondence to David Riley, driley{at}gahmllc.com
  • Received 28 August 2013
  • Accepted 5 September 2013
  • Published 23 October 2013

Summary

A case report is a narrative that describes, for medical, scientific or educational purposes, a medical problem experienced by one or more patients. Case reports written without guidance from reporting standards are insufficiently rigorous to guide clinical practice or to inform clinical study design. Develop, disseminate and implement systematic reporting guidelines for case reports. We used a three-phase consensus process consisting of (1) premeeting literature review and interviews to generate items for the reporting guidelines, (2) a face-to-face consensus meeting to draft the reporting guidelines and (3) postmeeting feedback, review and pilot testing, followed by finalisation of the case report guidelines. This consensus process involved 27 participants and resulted in a 13-item checklist—a reporting guideline for case reports. The primary items of the checklist are title, key words, abstract, introduction, patient information, clinical findings, timeline, diagnostic assessment, therapeutic interventions, follow-up and outcomes, discussion, patient perspective and informed consent. We believe the implementation of the CARE (CAse REport) guidelines by medical journals will improve the completeness and transparency of published case reports and that the systematic aggregation of information from case reports will inform clinical study design, provide early signals of effectiveness and harms, and improve healthcare delivery.

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

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