SOAP notes are very commonplace in various fields of medicine. The purpose of these SOAP notes it help medical professionals document and assess the effects of their medical care, and include patient feedback and input within that care. While SOAP notes are usually performed by physicians, they can also be utilized by massage therapists. This is particularly important if a massage therapist is working with a referring physician such as a pain management specialist who is the overall arbiter of a patient’s care.
Massage therapists that have gone the more clinical route though need to make sure that they thoroughly document their treatment efforts so that their care can be assessed. To do so, massage therapists need to follow the four part framework of what SOAP notes are. SOAP stands for Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan. When dealing with insurance companies and other medical billing, it is important to provide these notes to make sure that your massage therapy practice follows the minimum standard of care requires by these entities.
Because of this, you will need to use SOAP notes to give other medical professionals, as well as yourself, a greater insight into the progression of the patient’s care. Massage therapy for medical purposes is not meant to be indefinite, and it is important to understand how a patient is doing relative to when they started massage therapy. With that in mind, here are three reasons why creating SOAP notes for massage therapists is vital.
Assess a patient’s progress
SOAP notes create both a record of a patient’s treatment and a roadmap for their future treatment. For massage therapy, this may assess how you can assess and plan to fix a patient’s core issues, as well as what you have done in the past and how this has both subjectively affected the patient’s outlook and physical condition. When making these assessments it is important to review an example of massage therapy SOAP notes so that you can better understand what you should be assessing subjectively and objectively.
Referring for future care
One of the great things about SOAP notes is how they can be used as a communication tool. A patient’s chief complaint is the core of the assessment apparatus of SOAP notes. This can be used to subjectively assess how a patient feels that massage therapy is helping them. If they do not feel like massage therapy has been helpful, it might be useful to refer to this for future sessions so that you can adjust your massage techniques accordingly to better address their chief complaint.
SOAP notes are not just to help the patient. They are helpful in document a patient’s communicated needs. This is very useful if a patient does not feel like they have received sufficient care in the future, and they may seek to claim damages against you for a lack of proper massage therapy. If you document everything in the SOAP notes format, then you will have a much more comprehensive case to show how you have directly addressed a patient’s needs and also what steps you have taken to address their concerns about the type of massage therapy they are receiving.