The concise, organized, oral patient presentation

By Deborah Ziring MD (content) and Christof Daetwyler MD (on-line version)
Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA


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Introduction: Click the picture above to listen to Dr Ziring giving an introduction to the oral patient presentation Video 1: Click the picture above to see a full presentation - as used for a new admission to the hospital - with Medical Student Julie Rosenthal and Dr. Deborah Ziring

Video 2: Click the picture above to see a subsequent, short and focused, presentation with Medical Student Julie Rosenthal and Dr. Deborah Ziring

The goal of this site is to model typical oral presentations that a medical student would give on rounds or in the clinic. The "DocCom" module #37 is an excellent resource on the oral presentation which would be helpful to review before working through this site.

This site contains videos of 2 oral presentations. The first one is a full presentation. This would be used for a new admission to the hospital or new patient seen in the office. It is a complete H&P followed by a summary statement, a listing of the problems you have identified with plans for establishing a diagnosis and beginning therapy. The second presentation is a follow-up presentation. It would be used for subsequent days the pt is in the hospital or for subsequent visits to the outpt office after the initial H&P has been done.

It is important to recognize that the oral presentation is not just reciting the written H&P. Rather, it is a concise, organized presentation of the essential facts omitting that information which is in the written H&P that is not crucial to the story. The written H&P that accompanies this oral presentation is available here so you can see what was omitted from the written write-up when it was converted into an oral presentation. 

Realize, however, that what is considered important will vary depending on the purpose of the presentation and the listener.  For example, birth history would be relevant in a pediatrics presentation of a sick 3 month old but would be irrelevant in the presentation of a 50 year old man with chest pain. Also, different faculty members will have different styles and preferences. One example of this is that some faculty prefer the listing of the patient’s occupation in the opening statement while others prefer that this remain in the social history unless it is relevant to the chief complaint.  Your presentation therefore needs to be edited and adapted depending on the situation, but this model will serve as a guideline as you begin to recite oral presentations.

Lastly, you should memorize the bulk of your presentation. This enables you to maintain good eye contact with your audience and also to have good flow to your presentation. It is recommended though to use notes to keep track of the dates of previous surgeries/ dosages of medications and recent lab values so that you report these accurately.

ADDENDUM: Patient presentation at HOP clinics example videos


Copyright 2008 - 2015 by Drexel University College of Medicine - Produced by the Technology in Medical Education TIME Group - Contact: Deborah Ziring MD