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J Med Case Rep. 2011 Mar 29;5:120. doi: 10.1186/1752-1947-5-120.

Using an Ishikawa diagram as a tool to assist memory and retrieval of relevant medical cases from the medical literature.

Author information

  • University of Sydney, Sydney Medical School, NSW, Australia. kam.wong@sydney.edu.au.


Studying medical cases is an effective way to enhance clinical reasoning skills and reinforce clinical knowledge. An Ishikawa diagram, also known as a cause-and-effect diagram or fishbone diagram, is often used in quality management in manufacturing industries.In this report, an Ishikawa diagram is used to demonstrate how to relate potential causes of a major presenting problem in a clinical setting. This tool can be used by teams in problem-based learning or in self-directed learning settings.An Ishikawa diagram annotated with references to relevant medical cases and literature can be continually updated and can assist memory and retrieval of relevant medical cases and literature. It could also be used to cultivate a lifelong learning habit in medical professionals.

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