Initials, Age, Sex, Race
CC (chief complaint): a BRIEF statement identifying why the patient is here, stated in the patient’s own words (for instance “headache,” NOT “bad headache for 3 days”).
HPI (history of present illness): This is the symptom analysis section of your note. Thorough documentation in this section is essential for patient care, coding, and billing analysis. Paint a picture of what is wrong with the patient. Use LOCATES Mnemonic to complete your HPI. You need to start EVERY HPI with age, race, and gender (e.g., 34-year-old AA male). You must include the seven attributes of each principal symptom in paragraph form not a list. If the CC was “headache”, the LOCATES for the HPI might look like the following example:
• Location: Head
• Onset: 3 days ago
• Character: Pounding, pressure around the eyes and temples
• Associated signs and symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, photophobia, phonophobia
• Timing: After being on the computer all day at work
• Exacerbating/relieving factors: Light bothers eyes; Aleve makes it tolerable but not completely better
• Severity: 7/10 pain scale
Current Medications: Include dosage, frequency, length of time used, and reason for use; also include over the counter (OTC) or homeopathic products.
Allergies: Include medication, food, and environmental allergies separately, including a description of what the allergy is (i.e., angioedema, anaphylaxis, etc.). This will help determine a true reaction versus intolerance.
PMHx: Include immunization status (note date of last tetanus for all adults), past major illnesses, and surgeries. Depending on the CC, more info is sometimes needed.
Soc and Substance Hx: Include occupation and major hobbies, family status, tobacco and alcohol use (previous and current use), and any other pertinent data. Always add some health promo question here, such as whether they use seat belts all the time or whether they have working smoke detectors in the house, living environment, text/cell phone use while driving, and support system.
Fam Hx: Illnesses with possible genetic predisposition, contagious, or chronic illnesses. Reason for death of any deceased first-degree relatives should be included. Include parents, grandparents, siblings, and children. Include grandchildren if pertinent.
Surgical Hx: Prior surgical procedures.
Mental Hx: Diagnosis and treatment. Current concerns (anxiety and/or depression). History of self-harm practices and/or suicidal or homicidal ideation.
Violence Hx: Concern or issues about safety (personal, home, community, sexual (current and historical).
Reproductive Hx: Menstrual history (date of LMP), Pregnant (yes or no), Nursing/lactating (yes or no), contraceptive use (method used), types of intercourse (oral, anal, vaginal, other, any sexual concerns).
ROS (review of symptoms): Cover all body systems that may help you include or rule out a differential diagnosis You should list each system as follows:
• EENT (eyes, ears, nose, and throat):
Note: You should list these in bullet format, and document the systems in order from head to toe.
Example of Complete ROS:
GENERAL: No weight loss, fever, chills, weakness, or fatigue.
• Eyes: No visual loss, blurred vision, double vision or yellow sclerae.
• Ears, Nose, Throat: No hearing loss, sneezing, congestion, runny nose, or sore throat.
SKIN: No rash or itching.
CARDIOVASCULAR: No chest pain, chest pressure or chest discomfort. No palpitations or edema.
RESPIRATORY: No shortness of breath, cough or sputum.
GASTROINTESTINAL: No anorexia, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. No abdominal pain or blood.
GENITOURINARY: Burning on urination. Last menstrual period (LMP), MM/DD/YYYY.
NEUROLOGICAL: No headache, dizziness, syncope, paralysis, ataxia, numbness or tingling in the extremities. No change in bowel or bladder control.
MUSCULOSKELETAL: No muscle, back pain, joint pain or stiffness.
HEMATOLOGIC: No anemia, bleeding or bruising.
LYMPHATICS: No enlarged nodes. No history of splenectomy.
PSYCHIATRIC: No history of depression or anxiety.
ENDOCRINOLOGIC: No reports of sweating, cold or heat intolerance. No polyuria or polydipsia.
REPRODUCTIVE: Not pregnant and no recent pregnancy. No reports of vaginal or penile discharge. Not sexually active.
ALLERGIES: No history of asthma, hives, eczema or rhinitis.
Physical exam: From head-to-toe, include what you see, hear, and feel when doing your physical exam. You only need to examine the systems that are pertinent to the CC, HPI, and History. Do not use “WNL” or “normal.” You must describe what you see. Always document in head to toe format (i.e., General: Head: EENT: etc.).
Diagnostic results: Include any labs, x-rays, or other diagnostics that are needed to develop the differential diagnoses (support with evidenced and guidelines).
Differential diagnoses: List a minimum of three differential diagnoses. Your primary or presumptive diagnosis should be at the top of the list. For each diagnosis, provide supportive documentation with evidence-based guidelines.
Includes documentation of diagnostic studies that will be obtained, referrals to other health-care providers, therapeutic interventions, education, disposition of the patient, and any planned follow up visits. Each diagnosis or condition documented in the assessment should be addressed in the plan. The details of the plan should follow an orderly manner.
Also included in this section is the reflection. Reflect on this case, and discuss what you learned, including any “aha” moments or connections you made.
Also include in your reflection, a discussion related to health promotion and disease prevention taking into consideration patient factors (such as, age, ethnic group, etc.), PMH, and other risk factors (e.g., socio-economic, cultural background, etc.).