During recent years the new diagnostic techniques and new therapeutic agents and procedures have made it possible to treat many patients in outpatient departments who, prior to these developments, occupied hospital ward beds. With increasing numbers of ambulatory patients cared for in outpatient clinics, this aspect of medical care assumes ever greater importance. Numerous medical educators have long felt that there was room for improvement in the care of such ambulatory patients and have recognized the favorable position of the outpatient clinic as a learning experience for the medical student.
In the past many teachers in the clinical fields have preferred teaching in the hospital wards because of their superior organization, better continuity of immediate "follow-through" teaching, and what appeared to be a greater educational challenge. The rapid increase in the number and importance of the various medical specialties over the past half century has resulted in outpatient teaching schedules