Reassessment of all patients and results are always entered in their medical records

Health Information Management (HIM) / Medical Records (MR) practitioners need to be aware of the evidence of reassessment of all patients and results which are always entered in patients’ medical records. The results of these reassessments noted in the patient’s medical record is for the information and use of all those caring for the patient.

Health care practitioners  – predominately doctors and nurses are the ones who routinely conduct reassessment of patients in the following situations:

  1. to determine the patient’s response to treatment and whether the intervention remains appropriate
  2. to plan for continued treatment or discharge
  3. at intervals based on a patient’s condition and when there has been a significant change in his or her condition, plan of care, and individual needs or according to organisation policies and procedures

HIM / MR practitioners also need to be aware that a reassessment is integral to ongoing patient care i.e. it is a continuous process, and it is the key to understanding whether care decisions are appropriate and effective, and are normally carried out at intervals based on the patient’s condition and treatment to determine their response to treatment and to plan for continued treatment or discharge.

However, the periodicity of reassessment depends on the condition as well as a patient’s needs extending to the plan for continued treatment or discharge, or as defined in organisation policies and procedures as in the following situations:

  1. acute care patients are reassessed by the doctor(s) at least daily, including weekends, and when there has been a significant change in the patient’s condition
  2. non-acute patients maybe assessed less than daily and determined by a hospital policy which defines the circumstances in which, and the types of patients or patient populations for which, a doctor identifies the minimum reassessment interval for these patients
  3. nursing staff may be observed to periodically record vital signs as needed based on the patient’s condition in response to a significant change in the patient’s condition
  4. if the patient’s diagnosis has changed and the care needs require revised planning
  5. to determine if medications and other treatments have been successful and the patient can be transferred or discharged
  6. the care of patients undergoing moderate and deep sedation especially the frequency and type of patient-monitoring requirements
  7. the minimum frequency and type of monitoring during anaesthesia which is written into the patient’s anaesthesia record
  8. monitoring of physiological status during anaesthesia administration which is written into the patient’s anaesthesia record
  9. the patient’s physiological status is monitored during surgery and immediately after surgery
  10. the patient’s readiness for discharge based on the patient’s current reassessed health status and need for continuing care or services as determined by the use of relevant criteria or indications from a referral and/or discharge plan begun early in the care process and, when appropriate, which had included the family to ensure patient safety
  11. the collaborative monitoring process on medications by doctors, nurses, and other health care practitioners when they jointly evaluate the medication’s effect on the patient’s symptoms or illness and monitor and report for adverse effects like allergic responses, unanticipated drug/drug interactions, or a change in the patient’s equilibrium raising the risk of falls among others, thus in both cases to allow the dosage or type of medication to be adjusted when needed
  12. when patients are been monitored to their response to a collaborative plan among doctors, nurses, the dietetics service, and, when appropriate, the patient’s family, to provide nutrition therapy after a screening process during an initial assessment to identify those at nutritional risk
  13. dying patients and their families are assessed and reassessed according to their individualised needs by evaluating and managing their symptoms and preventing complications to the extent reasonably possible in the care of these dying patient to optimize his or her comfort and dignity

As I researched for this post, I found that this is the NOT the last in the list of medical record documentation requirements I have found as required by the Joint Commission International (JCI) standards for documentation required in a medical record.

I will still need to discuss on these other medical record documentation requirements:

  1. when a hospital policy identifies adverse effects that are to be recorded in the patient’s record and those that must be reported to the hospital
  2. when the patient’s response to nutrition therapy is recorded in his or her record
  3. when assessments and reassessments need to be individualised to meet patients’ and families’ needs when patients are at the end of life, and assessment findings are documented in the patient’s medical record

Nonetheless, any hospital’s medical record documentation, irrespective if the hospital had undergone the journey to JCI accreditation or is planning to do so, all of which will contain reassessment findings recorded in them, including that related to needs when patients are at the end of life.

So if you are practising at a hospital which is already JCI accredited or seeking JCI accreditation status or undergoing re-survey for JCI accreditation statusthen your hospital will need to fully comply with the JCI Standard AOP.2 which states that “All patients are reassessed at intervals based on their condition and treatment to determine their response to treatment and to plan for continued treatment or discharge.” Documentation of reassessment of patients in their medical records also satisfies the JCI Standard MCI.19.1, Measurement Element 5 requirement which states that “Patient clinical records contain adequate information to document the course and results of treatment.”.


  1. Joint Commission International, 2010, Joint Commission International Accreditation Standards For Hospitals, 4th edn, JCI, USA

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