Understanding SOAP Notes: A Deep Dive

Admin / February 6, 2023

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SOAP Notes, an acronym for Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan, have become the gold standard in clinical documentation. But what exactly goes into each section, and why is this structure so widely used? Let’s dive in.

Subjective: The Patient's Perspective

This section captures what the patient says. Their symptoms, feelings, and complaints are noted down verbatim, giving a 'subjective' view of their condition.

Objective: Clinician’s Observations

Here, the clinician documents objective data like vital signs, test results, or any measurable signs relevant to the patient's condition.

Assessment: The Diagnosis

This section is where the clinician formulates a diagnosis based on the subjective and objective data collected.

Plan: Treatment Goals and Plans

The final section outlines the treatment plan, which may include medications, therapy sessions, and follow-up appointments.

Why Use SOAP?

The SOAP format’s popularity stems from its systematic and easy-to-follow structure. It ensures that crucial details aren't missed, making the notes comprehensive yet concise.


Understanding the nuances of SOAP notes can drastically improve your clinical documentation, thereby enhancing patient care.