12-Point Medical Record Checklist

What Is Included in a Medical Record

A medical record is a systematic documentation of a patient’s medical history and care. It usually contains the patient's health information (PHI) which includes identification information, health history, medical examination findings and billing information.

Medical records traditionally were kept in paper form, with tabs separating the sections. As printed reports were generated, they were moved to the correct tab. With the advent of the electronic patient record, these sections may still be found but as tabs or menus within the electronic record.

Patient Demographics


Face sheet, Registration form
Patient Name
Address and phone numbers (home and mobile)
Email address
Sex, Age, Birthday, and Race (Ethnicity)
Occupation and Employer name, address, and phone number
Spouse Name and contact information
In case of emergency contact information

Financial Information

Medical Record
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Insurance payer name, address and phone number
Subscriber name
Policy number
Responsible party name, address and phone number
Responsible party employer, occupation and employer phone number
Patient relationship to the insured

Consent and Authorization Forms

Doctor with medical consent form
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Consent for treatment: For any course of treatment that is above routine medical procedures, the physician must disclose as much information as possible so the patient may make an informed decision about his/her care. This information should include:

  • Diagnosis and chances of recovery
  • Recommended course of treatment
  • Risks and benefits involved in treatment
  • Risks if no treatment is taken
  • Probability of success if treatment is taken
  • Recovery challenges and length of time

Assignment of benefits: the patient or guarantor authorizes their health insurance company to make payments directly to the physician, medical practice or hospital for the treatment received.

Release of information: A valid authorization to release protected health information includes:

  • Identity verification such as a driver's license.
  • A description of the information to be used or disclosed.
  • The name of the person or organization authorized to disclose the information.
  • The name of the person or organization that the information is to disclosed.
  • Signature of the person authorized to release the information.

Treatment History

Health History Claim Form-Healthcare And Medicine Document
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Chief complaints
History of illness
Vital signs
Physical examination
Surgical history
Obstetric history
Medical allergies
Family history
Immunization history
Habits such as exercise, diet, alcohol intake, smoking, and drug use/abuse
Developmental history

Progress Notes

Thomas Barnardo By: Michael Nicholson View similar images RF medical student updating medical notes medical student updating medical notes
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Progress notes include new information and changes during patient treatment. They are written by all members of the patient's treatment team. Some of the information included in progress notes include:

  • Observations of the patient's physical and mental condition
  • Sudden changes in the patient's condition
  • Vital signs at certain intervals
  • Food intake
  • Bladder and bowel functions

Physician's Orders and Prescriptions

Hand Writing Prescription
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Physician's orders for the patient to receive testing, procedures or surgery including directions to other members of the treatment team.

Prescriptions for medications and medical supplies or equipment for the patients home use.


Mature doctors discussing medical records
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Findings and opinions from consulting physicians.

Lab Reports

Blood specimen tubes on form for ordering lab tests
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Record of findings from lab testing.

Radiology Reports

Doctor examining x-ray report in hospital.
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Record of findings from radiology testing.

Nursing Notes

Nurse writes notes
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Nurses notes include documentation separate from the physician including:

  • Patient assessment
  • Processes
  • Intervention
  • Evaluation

Medication List

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Prescription and nonprescription medication including dose, method of intake, and schedule.

HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices

Personal information form with confidential stamp
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This notice, as required by the HIPAA Privacy Rule, gives patients the right to be informed about their privacy rights as it relates to their protected health information (PHI).

Patient Confidentiality
Each medical office has a responsibility to their patients by federal law to keep their personal health information private and secure. Disclosures made regarding a patient's protected health information without their authorization is considered a violation of the Privacy Rule under HIPAA. Most privacy breaches are not due to malicious intent but are accidental or negligent on the part of the organization.

  • Develop a formal security management process including the development of policies and procedures, internal audits, contingency plan and other safeguards to ensure compliance by medical office staff.
  • Develop policies for verifying access authorizations, equipment control, and handling visitors.
  • Develop and provide documentation including instructions on how your medical office can help to protect PHI (for example, logging off the computer before leaving it unattended).
  • Establish unique user identification including passwords and pin numbers.