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Open Access Research article

Case-based exercises fail to improve medical students' information management skills: a controlled trial

Heidi S Chumley1*, Alison E Dobbie2 and John E Delzell1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Family Medicine, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, USA

2 Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, USA

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BMC Medical Education 2006, 6:14  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-6-14

Published: 1 March 2006



Tomorrow's physicians must learn to access, retrieve, integrate and apply current information into ambulatory patient encounters, yet few medical schools teach 'real time' information management.


We compared two groups of clerkship students' information management skills using a standardized patient case. The intervention group participated in case-based discussions including exercises that required them to manage new information. The control group completed the same case discussions without information management exercises.


After five weeks, there was no significant difference between the control and intervention groups' scores on the standardized patient case. However, third rotation students significantly outperformed first rotation students.


Case-based exercises to teach information management failed to improve students' performance on a standardized patient case. Increased number of clinical rotations was associated with improved performance.