The CPC is a great medical educational tool. The prerequisites of a good CPC presentation are (1) selection (2) preparation (3) presentation and (4) discussion.
The CPC was first introduced in the USA, at Harvard Medical School (HMS) in Boston, Massachusetts. When Walter B. Cannon, a world renowned Professor of Physiology was a 4th -year medical student in 1898, he shared a room with a 2nd -year law student at Harvard Law School who was fascinated by the use of the case history method of teaching law. In 1900, Cannon proposed in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal (a precursor to the NEJM) that such method of teaching for medicine be adopted. In his paper, he wrote that the then current 4 h of continuous lecturing on various diseases from 2 to 6 o’clock 5 days a week “a dreary and benumbing process” and that the “study of case histories have been shown to arouse great enthusiasm and excitement among students.” CPCs give students an opportunity to review and debate among themselves the differential diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of a patient as described in the case presentation.