What is a Card Study?

The Card Study is a hallmark method of practice-based research that has been used for more than 30 years.  The basic characteristics are:

The Card Study method is a simple, yet effective way to answer clinical questions that come up in everyday practice settings.  The answers to these questions have been used to develop new standards of care for diverse conditions and to establish the prevalence of conditions in primary care and other practice settings. There are two basic types of card studies - condition specific and prevalence.

Condition Specific Study

Prevalence Study


Patients who meet inclusion criteria (e.g., specific diagnosis)

All patients seen during the study time period (e.g. one week)


Describe characteristics, practice patterns, trends, outcomes, etc. of a specific disease, condition, or intervention

Determine prevalence of a condition in practice setting

Best suited for:

Less common conditions or practices

Common conditions or practices


How are developmental delays identified in infants and toddlers? What diagnostic tools and methods
are used?

How frequently do individuals accompanying the patient ask questions about their own health problems during primary care visits?

Questions to Consider:

Electronic Health Records & Card Study Methods

What about the IRB?

The PBRN Shared Resource has an active parent protocol for Card Studies conducted in network practices.  New research questions only require that an addendum is made to the main protocol, thereby streamlining the process and making it quicker and easier to get studies approved and implemented! For more information, contact pbrn@case.edu