Progress notes are an important part of providing quality care to your patients. They document the patient’s progress, as well as any interventions or treatments you may have provided. However, writing effective progress notes can be tricky—that’s where SOAP notes come in.
This article will discuss SOAP notes and how to write them effectively. The steps also will serve as an actual SOAP notes example for you to follow. Let’s get started!
What are SOAP Notes?
SOAP notes are a type of progress note that behavioral healthcare professionals use to document patient care. They are an acronym for Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan.
- Subjective: The subjective section is where you will document the patient’s symptoms and concerns. The patient usually provides this information.
- Objective: The objective section is where you will document any observations you have made about the patient. This can include anything from their physical appearance to their demeanor during the session.
- Assessment: The assessment section is where you will make a clinical judgment about the patient’s condition. This will usually involve diagnosing the patient with a specific condition or disorder.
- Plan: The plan section is where you will document the treatment plan for the patient. This can include anything from medication recommendations to referrals for other services.
SOAP notes are great for documenting progress over time and for tracking the effectiveness of different interventions. However, they can be time-consuming to write, especially if you don’t know what sections to include. That’s why it’s essential to know how to write SOAP notes.
Who Uses SOAP Notes?
Everyone working in healthcare can benefit from writing SOAP notes. Doctors, nurses, therapists, and counselors can all use them to document patient progress. In addition, medical practitioners can also use SOAP notes in research to track the progress of a large number of patients.
When Should SOAP Notes Be Used?
SOAP notes should be used whenever you need to document patient progress. This can be at each session or once a week, depending on the frequency of visits. SOAP notes are also a great way to communicate with other healthcare professionals about a patient’s care.
How to Write SOAP Notes?
Now that we’ve answered the question, “What are SOAP notes?”, it’s time to learn how to write them. Writing SOAP notes can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to write SOAP notes:
The clue to writing SOAP notes lies in the acronym itself. Let’s break it down:
- S – Subjective
- O – Objective
- A – Assessment
- P – Plan
Step 1 – Subjective
The subjective section is where you will document the patient’s symptoms and concerns. Again, this information is usually provided by the patient.
Step one is all about collecting information from the patient. You can do this by asking them questions about their symptoms and concerns. It’s important to let the patient do most of the talking in this section. You can also ask questions about their medical history and current medications.
Examples of subsections that fall under ‘Subjective’ include:
- Chief or primary complaint: e.g., the patient’s condition, historical diagnosis, or current symptoms.
- History of present illness: e.g., how the patient’s condition started, how it has progressed, and any previous attempts at treatment.
- Review of symptoms: e.g., location, quality, severity, and timing of the patient’s symptoms.
- Allergies and current meds: e.g., what medications the patient is taking and if they have any allergies to medication.
Step 2 – Objective
The objective section is where you will document any observations you have made about the patient. This can include anything from their physical appearance to their demeanor during the session. In this section, you will document your observations of the patient. As the name suggests, It’s important to be as objective as possible in this section.
Examples of subsections that fall under ‘Objective’ include:
- Vital signs: e.g., blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature.
- Physical exam: e.g., appearance, behavior, motor skills, and speech.
- Cognitive functioning: e.g., attention, memory, and executive functioning.
Step 3 – Assessment
The assessment section is where you will interpret the information you have gathered in the subjective and objective sections. This is where you will make a diagnosis or identify any treatment goals.
In the assessment section, you will interpret the information you have gathered in the subjective and objective sections. Therefore, it’s important to be as specific as possible in this section.
Examples of subsections that fall under ‘Assessment’ include:
- Diagnosis: e.g., the patient’s primary diagnosis, comorbid diagnoses, and differential diagnoses.
- Treatment goals: e.g., what the patient and clinician hope to achieve through treatment.
Step four – Plan
The plan section is where you will document the treatment plan for the patient. This can include anything from referrals to medication management. Be specific on what you will write in this section.
Examples of subsections that fall under ‘Plan’ include:
- Referral: e.g., if the patient is referred to another provider or specialist.
- Medication management: e.g., if the patient is starting, stopping, or changing medications.
- Treatment plan: e.g., what kind of treatment the patient will be receiving and how often they will receive it?
Use DataMyte Digital Clipboard to Write Your SOAP Notes
Like a physical clipboard, you can take advantage of the DataMyte Digital Clipboard to write your SOAP notes. The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is a great way to keep track of your patients’ progress and document any changes in their condition.
The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is DATAMYTE’s workflow automation software, capable of creating comprehensive workflows for any business. With the DataMyte Digital Clipboard, you can create custom SOAP note templates for your practice and have all of your patient data automatically populated into the template.
With its intuitive and easy-to-use drag and drop feature, the DataMyte Digital Clipboard makes it easy to write SOAP notes and add elements such as timestamps, photos, and signatures. You can also add custom fields to your SOAP notes template to track important information about your practice.
With the DataMyte Digital Clipboard, data gathering and report generation have never been easier. Try it today and see how it can help you streamline your workflow!
SOAP notes are an important part of being a healthcare professional. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily write SOAP notes that are specific and informative. Be sure to use DataMyte Digital Clipboard to streamline your workflow and make writing SOAP notes easy!