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Saturday Jan 04, 2020

Four tips for writing visit notes suitable for your patients to see

As the push for transparency in health care grows, shared visit notes are becoming more common. Shared notes can enhance communication and engagement among patients, physicians, and family members and can be an important facilitator of shared decision making.

To prepare for increased transparency, physicians can take simple steps to modify their documentation:

1. Be consistent and transparent. What you put in the note should reflect your communication in the office. There should be no surprises.

2. Minimize jargon and abbreviations that patients might easily misinterpret, and simplify medical terms where possible. For example, say “short of breath” rather than SOB or dyspneic.

3. Highlight patients’ strengths and achievements in addition to their clinical problems, particularly for mental health issues. For example, when documenting a patient’s depressive symptoms, note encouraging findings as well, such as “Patient has joined a walking group.”

4. Describe behaviors rather than labeling the patient or making judgments. For example, instead of saying “Poor historian,” say “Patient could not recall.”

Read the full FPM article: “Sharing Visit Notes: Getting Patients and Physicians on the Same Page.”

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Posted at 08:00PM Jan 04, 2020 by FPM Editors

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