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July 5, 1995

Clinical Crossroads: An Invitation

Author Affiliations

From the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, Mass (Drs Delbanco and Daley and Ms Walzer), and the Brockton-West Roxbury Veterans Affairs Medical Center, West Roxbury, Mass (Dr Daley). Dr Daley is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Career Development Program. Dr Winker is Senior Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 1995;274(1):76-77. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530010090041

The first live conference created for a journal directed to medical practitioners was published nearly 100 years ago when Dr Richard Cabot introduced the clinical pathologic conference to academic medicine, in the form of the case records of the Massachusetts General Hospital.1 Borrowing from case-based teaching used in the study of law, Dr Cabot developed the conference to tackle the problem of wrong diagnoses. He created a link between the clinician and the pathologist, and by including real patients in the clinical discussion of specific diseases, he also hoped to create a teaching instrument for students. Diagnostic medicine has moved forward, and today, although misdiagnoses and diagnostic strategies remain a problem, treatment options often present the greatest dilemma for clinicians. Stimulated by Dr Cabot's timeless question to his students—"What is the gist of it all?"1—we introduce, in this issue, Clinical Crossroads.

See also p 69.

Doctors in

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