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J Med Educ. 1988 Nov;63(11):859-65.

Measuring medical residents' chart-documentation practices.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine.


To determine the adequacy of medical history documentation, investigators videotaped 26 clinical interviews performed by medical residents in ambulatory practice, and the contents of each videotape were compared with the corresponding entries in the medical record. The residents recorded a little over half of all medical history information observed on the videotapes. Medical issues were more often documented than psychosocial or health behaviors. The residents in their second postgraduate year had the best documentation practices regardless of their residency track (primary-care or traditional track). Also, no difference was noted between the performances of primary-care internal medicine residents and traditional internal medicine residents. For one-quarter of the patients, less than 40 percent of the information that was present on the videotapes was documented in their charts. The residents documented more-severe illnesses better than less-severe ones and documented the medical histories of older patients better than the histories of younger ones. The residents' records of health behavior and psychosocial concerns were less complete for women patients. To improve chart documentation, members of both the attending and the house staffs should review videotapes and corresponding medical records of clinical encounters to help them investigate factors causing inadequate chart-documentation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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