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CaseX - The Digital Clerkship

Last Updated: March 31, 2020


Medical learning is experiential, and there is no replacement for working with real patients. However, in lieu of delayed clerkships secondary to the COVID pandemic, virtual cases are the best proxy to continue teaching clinical reasoning. CaseX is an online, case-based learning platform that walks medical students through patient encounters across different specialties including internal medicine, obstetrics/ gynecology (OB/GYN), pediatrics, surgery, and neuropsychiatry.  Originally designed for independent or asynchronous learning, these cases also function well in synchronous, scheduled curriculum using team-based learning via videoconferencing. 

Sample learning schedules included in the attachments incorporate online, clinical lectures that are freely available. Schedules have been created to support the following clerkships: internal medicine, family medicine, emergency medicine, OB/GYN, pediatrics, neurology, psychiatry, and surgery. Each case starts with a real patient video and a chief complaint. The patient care experience is simulated as students progress through a history of present illness, review of systems, past histories, medications and allergies, physical exam, as well as lab and imaging studies. Questions related to the patient condition, differential, diagnostic plan, intervention and management strategies are then asked and sequentially discussed. The case evolves and students practice handing real-life situations in a virtual learning environment. Patients can improve or deteriorate, contraindications are found, imaging studies return, and the learner handles tough questions designed to provoke thought. Clerkship directors and faculty members can assign cases for independent learning or prior to engaging in digital, team-based discussions. Approaches and methods for managing student discussions in a remote setting are outlined in the attachments.


Dustyn E. Williams, MD, OnlineMedEd (dwillia4@tulane.edu)