Medical case studies are used to model a theory, to build up a database of information on a condition, and to educate students on the presentation and symptoms of conditions. A closely related concept is the case report, which is a detailed account of a patient's presentation and treatment.
Case studies are often used in medicine to describe medical conditions rigorously. The typical medical case study provides an overview of one or more patients' history, records scientific observations on their symptoms, and thoroughly describes their treatment.
This rigorous approach allows other medical personnel and students to learn from the cases presented, building up a body of knowledge about the condition. Case studies also help frame further research by providing a knowledge base before more controlled studies can begin.
Case reports are similar, but briefer, usually covering unique or novel conditions, and are not as systematic. They can bring to light new disease trends or previously unknown side effects.