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.”.

References:

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

Pre-sedation assessment documentation

Image credit: patientsafetyauthority.org/

My purpose of including this post about pre-sedation assessment is because it warrants a provision to check for compliance against the Joint Commission International (JCI) Standard ASC.3 which requires documentation of a pre-sedation assessment and monitoring of the patient during administration of moderate or deep sedation or anesthesia using the Medical Records Review Tool (MMRT) form, similar to the situation  when the JCI Standard AOP.1.4. which also examines the documentation in a medical record during a Medical Records Review (MMR) session.

Sedation (JCI, 2011 p.245) at three (3) levels of sedation – minimal sedation (patient can respond to command), moderate sedation (depressed level of consciousness; patient can breathe without assistance, respond to pain, and follow some commands. protective reflexes are maintained),  and deep sedation (patient cannot be easily aroused, but can respond after repeated stimulation. respiration may need to be supported), is “the administration of medication to an individual, in any setting, for any purpose, by any route to induce a partial or total loss of sensation for the purpose of conducting an operative or other procedure.” as defined in the Glossary  of the JCI Hospital Acceditation Standards For Hospitals, 4th Edition Manual.

So what needs to be checked for compliance against this JCI Standard ASC.3, which states that “Policies and procedures guide the care of patients undergoing moderate and deep sedation.” in the medical record of a patient due for the purpose of conducting an operative or other procedure on the patient.” and specifically its Measurable Element (ME) 3 which requires that “There is a pre-sedation assessment performed that is consistent with organization policy to evaluate risk and appropriateness of the sedation for the patient.?

Such aforesaid policies and procedures of a hospital must define the scope and content of a pre-sedation assessment to guide the care of patients undergoing moderate and deep sedation. A responsible qualified individual competent in (a) techniques of various modes of sedation, (b) appropriate monitoring, (c) response to complications, (d) use of reversal agents, and (e) at least basic life support, conducts a pre-sedation assessment of the patient to ensure the planned sedation and determine the appropriate level of sedation for the patient that is consistent with hospital policy to evaluate risk and appropriateness of the sedation for the patient. Pre-sedation assessment is important in particular for moderate and deep sedation levels because the degrees of sedation occur on a continuum, and a patient may progress from one degree to another, based on the medications administered, route, and dosages.

A pre-sedation assessment will include the following to ensure a patient’s ability to maintain protective reflexes; an independent, continuous patent airway; and the capability to respond to physical stimulation or verbal commands :

a) how planning will occur as I covered in the post Anaesthesia plan in the patient’s medical record (this link will open in a new tab of your current browser window), including the identification of differences between adult and paediatric populations or other special considerations for patients with significant underlying medical conditions (e.g., extremes of age; severe cardiac, pulmonary, hepatic, or renal disease; pregnancy; drug or alcohol abuse, uncooperative patients, morbid obesity, potentially difficult airway, sleep apnea);

b) documentation required for the care team to work and to communicate effectively;

c) informed consent must be obtained for all non-emergency procedures and special consent  for example when informed consent is obtained moments before a patient will undergo a major, potentially life-threatening or disfiguring procedure;

d) frequency and type of patient-monitoring requirements;

e) special qualifications or skills of staff involved in sedation process as I posted under the post Anesthesia care must be given by a qualified individual (this link will open in a new tab of your current browser window); and

f ) availability and use of specialised equipment.

Recommendations on Pre-Anaesthetic Assessment , one of the six (6) Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) of the Malaysian Society of Anaesthesiologists (MSA) recommends that  “A written summary of the pre-anaesthetic assessment, orders or arrangements should be explicitly and legibly documented in the patient’s anaesthetic record”.

Likewise, another MSA CPG – Recommendations for Standards of Monitoring During Anaesthesia and Recovery, makes special mention on sedation and recommends that (i) A patient who is to be given any form of sedation for a procedure should be assessed by a qualified medical practitioner and his medical status noted.”, and (ii) “A written record of the time and dosages of the drugs used must be kept as part of the patients records. This record must also note the monitored values of the patients vital signs( i.e. blood pressure, pulse rate. respiration, and oxygen saturation) .”

Examples of presedation assessment forms for adults and paediatrics with links from this post are as follows :

Adult Sedation Pre-Sedation Assessment Form example (this link will open in a new tab of your current browser window)

Paediatric Sedation Pre-Sedation Assessment Form example (this link will open in a new tab of your current browser window)

It is also possible to find pre-sedation assessment recorded in the anaesthesia record.

Before I close the discussion on pre-sedation assessment in this post, I like to recommend the following based on my experiences:

  1. a special, separate special pre-sedation medication form or the pre-sedation medication form printed on the reverse side of the anaesthetic record form or elements of the pre-sedation assessment included as part of the anaesthetic record form;
  2. team members of a MMR session must be briefed about (a) the pre-sedation assessment process compliance check for JCI Standard ASC.3 in the MMRT form, and (b) about the presence of a pre-sedation assessment form in a medical record for patients undergone pre-sedation assessment and monitoring during the administration of moderate or deep sedation;
  3. a medical record is just not complete if there is no pre-sedation assessment form in a medical record for patients undergone pre-sedation assessment and monitoring during the administration of moderate or deep sedation, so Health Information Management (HIM) / Medical Records (MR) practitioners must ensure a medical record for such patients is completed with a pre-sedation assessment record;
  4. reporting the presence of a  pre-sedation assessment form in a medical record for patients undergone pre-sedation assessment and monitoring during the administration of moderate or deep sedation is not enough just to satisfy the completion of the process of a MMR session but I believe it is beyond just checking for completeness of the medical record and merely to complete the  MMRT form;
  5. team members of a MMR session must be briefed not only to check for a pre-sedation assessment form in a medical record but also its completeness and team members must notify the MMR session team leader of any incompleteness found; and
  6. the team leader of a MMR session must record such observations of incompleteness found in the pre-sedation assessment form so as to make the MMR session report as value added as possible and to improve the quality improvement activities of the Anaesthesiology Department of the hospital.

References:
Caroline, BR & Mary, TK 2012, Textbook of basic nursing, 10th edn, Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, USA

Children’s Hospital Central California, 2013, Paediatric Sedation Pre-Sedation Assessment Form example, viewed 5 January 2013 < http://www.chccsedation.org/downloads/PreProceduralSP.pdf >

Darthmouth-Hitchcock Medical Centre, Adult Sedation Pre-Sedation Assessment Form example, viewed 5 January 2013 < http://www.dhmcsedation.com/as/downloads/PreAssessmentExample.pdf  >

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

Malaysian Society of Anaesthesiologists (MSA), 2013, Recommendations on Pre-Anaesthetic Assessment, viewed 5 January 2013 < http://www.acadmed.org.my/view_file.cfm?fileid=222 >

Malaysian Society of Anaesthesiologists (MSA), 2013, Recommendations for Standards of Monitoring During Anaesthesia and Recovery, viewed 5 January 2013 < http://www.acadmed.org.my/view_file.cfm?fileid=180 >

Malaysian Society of Anaesthesiologists (MSA), 2013, Recommendations On Pre-Anaesthetic Assessment, viewed 5 January 2013 < http://www.acadmed.org.my/view_file.cfm?fileid=222 >

Michelle, AG & Mary, JB 2011, Essentials of Health Information Management: Principles and Practices, 2nd edn, Delmar, Cengage Learning, NY, USA

Ronald, DM & Manuel, CP Jr 2011, Basics Of Anesthesia, 6th edn, Elsevier Saunders, Philadelphia, PA, USA

The risks, benefits, and alternatives of surgery

I had posted in the post Risks, benefits, and alternatives of anaesthesia (this link will open in a new tab of your current browser window) on the anaesthesia planning process which includes educating the patient, his or her family, or decision maker on the risks, benefits, and alternatives related to the planned anesthesia and postoperative analgesia. This discussion occurs as part of the process to obtain consent for anesthesia (including moderate and deep sedation). In anaesthesia care, an anesthesiologist or a qualified individual provides this education.when the risks, benefits, and alternatives are discussed with the patient, his or her family, or those who make decisions for the patient.

Likewise prior to surgery, patients and their families or decision makers receive adequate information to participate in care decisions and to provide the informed consent.

The information provided includes:

  1. the risks of the planned procedure;
  2. the benefits of the planned procedure;
  3. the potential complications; and
  4. the surgical and nonsurgical options (alternatives) available to treat the patient.

In addition, when blood or blood products may be needed, information on the risks and alternatives is discussed.

The patient’s surgeon or other qualified individual provides this information.

Health Information Management (HIM) / Medical Records (MR) practitioners need to be aware that medical records of patients must show evidence of the education process  in an ongoing process prior to surgery. Medical records must contain documentation on this process as required by the Joint Commission International (JCI) Standard ASC.7.1 which clearly states that “The risks, benefits, and alternatives are discussed with the patient and his or her family or those who make decisions for the patient.”, and its three (3) Measurable Elements (ME) which must be met fully at hospitals that are JCI accredited or seeking JCI accreditation status or undergoing re-survey for JCI accreditation status.

HIM / MR practitioners must also be aware that the Joint Commission International (JCI) Standard PFR.6.4 which clearly states that “Informed consent is obtained before surgery, anesthesia, use of blood and blood products, and other high-risk treatments and procedures.” I had posted about informed consent in the post Informed Consents – 5 required documentation in the medical record providing information to patient and family (this link will open in a new tab of your current browser window).

Lastly, HIM / MR practitioners do take note that the JCI Standard ASC.7.1  is checked for compliance in the Medical Record Review Tool form used in the Medical Record Review process if your hospital is already JCI accredited or seeking JCI accreditation status or undergoing re-survey for JCI accreditation status.

References:
Joint Commission International 2010, Joint Commission International Accreditation Standards For Hospitals, 4th edn, JCI, USA

Risks, benefits, and alternatives of anaesthesia

When devising a plan of anaesthesia care, the anaesthesia planning process includes educating the patient, his or her family, or decision maker on the risks, benefits, and alternatives related to the planned anaesthesia and postoperative analgesia.

Educating the patient, his or her family, or decision maker on the risks include the following factors to consider when formulating a planned anaesthetic,  usually hampered by individual patient variability:

  1. persuading patients who may express a fear of dying during anesthesia that anaesthesia is very safe (Ronald & Manuel, 2011)
  2. certain prescription drugs (antihypertensive, tranquilisers, steroids, and diuretics) and over-the-counter (OTC) medications and herbal preparations, can increase (Sue & Patricia, 2011) the patient’s anaesthesia risks. Surgical patients with chronic diseases at risk taking numerous medications can cause complications during the perioperative period and also increase the patient’s anaesthesia risks. The anaesthesiologist will advise the patient, family, and decision makers which medication(s) must be stopped at least 2 weeks prior to surgery, or the surgery may be canceled.
  3. the patient’s co-morbid conditions i.e coexisting diseases
  4. other risks include peripheral nerve damage, brain damage, airway trauma (most often caused by difficult tracheal intubation), intraoperative awareness, eye injury, fetal/newborn injury, and aspiration.

The use of regional anaesthesia has significant benefits for patients and facilities. For example, regional anaesthesia  for patients undergoing orthopedic procedures decreases (Ronald & Manuel, 2011) overall anaesthesia when compared to general anaesthesia and postanaesthesia care unit (PACU) discharge time can be shortened and the immediate postoperative period made more pleasant for the patient.

The patient, his or her family, or decision maker  will be educated on the choice of anaesthesia, whether it is to be either general, or regional or sedation and will be influenced by (Ronald & Manuel, 2011):

  1. site of the surgery
  2. position of the patient during surgery
  3. risk of aspiration
  4. age of the patient
  5. patient cooperation
  6. anticipated ease of airway management
  7. coagulation status
  8. previous response to anaesthesia
  9. preference of the patient

This discussion on the risks, benefits, and alternatives related to the planned anaesthesia and postoperative analgesia occurs as part of the process to obtain consent for anaesthesia (including moderate and deep sedation) as required in PFR.6.4, ME 2, which I have already blogged about in the post Informed Consents – 5 required documentation in the medical record providing information to patient and family  (this link will open in a new link of your current window).

An anaesthesiologist or a qualified individual provides this education.

If a hospital has been accredited for Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation status or already enjoying JCI accreditation status or because a hospital is going for a re-survey by JCI surveyors for another new term of JCI accredited status, then a Health Information Management (HIM) / Medical Records (MR) practitioner is likely to be part of a team using the Medical Records Review Tool form during any one Medical Records Review session which contains the JCI Standard ASC.5.1 to test for conformance to its requirement which states that “The risks, benefits, and alternatives are discussed with the patient, his or her family, or those who make decisions for the patient.”

Although this standard does not require any form of documentation in the medical record, HIM/MR practitioners must take note that risks, benefits, and alternatives that are discussed with the patient, his or her family, or those who make decisions for the patient are normally recorded by the surgeon or anaesthetist in the Preanaesthesia Evaluation Note.

References :
Joint Commission International 2010, Joint Commission International Accreditation Standards For Hospitals, 4th edn, JCI, USA

Michelle, AG & Mary, JB 2011, Essentials of Health Information Management: Principles and Practices, 2nd edn, Delmar, Cengage Learning, NY, USA

Ronald, DM & Manuel, CP Jr 2011, Basics Of Anesthesia, 6th edn, Elsevier Saunders, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Sue, CD & Patricia, KL 2011, Fundamentals of Nursing: Standards & Practice, 4th edn, Delmar, Cengage Learning, NY, USA

Surgical information that require documentation in medical records

Now I have completed relevant posts on surgical information that belong to the contents of a typical medical record for a patient who had undergone surgery, I like to summarise the Joint Commission International (JCI) standards and requirements that directly affect surgical information which requires documentation in medical records.

At this juncture, I like to reiterate that I am not advocating JCI’s program for hospital accreditation. I have used their standards as a benchmark to make medical records documentation to a better quality and as evidence of proper care.

I have also run up each post with a background to a specific surgical information in the medical record, so that Health Information Management (HIM) / Medical Records (MR) practitioners are not just managing medical records literally and not understanding and knowing the background of pieces of scientific information which accumulates inside the medical records.

In my opinion, knowing the nature and structure of surgical information in a medical record make a better HIM/MR practitioner, who is able to stand up for and argue for the quality of medical and surgical information in medical records.

Someone has to fight for the quality of medical records, and who is less important and relevant than HIM/MR practitioners who are the rightful custodians of medical records. I think it is not HIM/MR management practice is not only about medical records assembly, filing, coding, preparing statistical reports and medico-legal processing, etc., but accruing knowledge on HIM/MR management with regards to “WHAT is this thing we are managing”, “WHY are we keeping this?”, and ”HOW can we contribute to the quality of documentation?”.

From the post Medical information that require documentation in medical records (this link will redirect you to a new tab of your current browser window), I had presented all the necessary requirements about of medical information that require documentation in a medical records which explicitly stated what is to be documented in a medical record and also standards which implicitly indicated  medical information that require documentation in a medical record.

For surgical information that require documentation in a medical record, I have a count of twelve (12) standards – or also as one can say “requirements”, which explicitly state what is to be documented in a medical record. There are no standards that indicate implicitly any necessity for surgical information to be documented in a medical record.

I have tabulated all the 12 requirements in some charts. But before displaying the charts on the 12 requirements, allow me to summarise the perioperative period for a patient scheduled for surgery in the pictorial below. I think this chart below is relevant to understanding the 12 requirements (a larger view of this chart is displayed in a new tab of your current browser window by clicking on this chart).

And now, the charts below (a larger view of each chart is displayed in a new tab of your current window, by clicking on each chart) show the 12 requirements for surgical information.


I believe, a HIM) / MR practitioner working in a hospital must be knowledgeable enough of the surgical information contents in the medical records in his or her custody and to contribute greatly to their quality. The medical records must contain all of the surgical information as I spoken of above, recorded in them. This condition is regardless of the type of hospital they work at, irrespective if his or her hospital had acquired JCI accreditation status or one that is seeking JCI accreditation status or it is one that is not seeking JCI accreditation status at all.

References :
Joint Commission International 2010, Joint Commission International Accreditation Standards For Hospitals, 4th edn, JCI, USA

Patient care after surgery is planned and documented

Another surgical information that goes into the medical record is the postsurgical care plan to surgical patients. A postsurgical care plan is important for discharge planning and future planning are based on medical and nursing care plans after surgery. The Joint Commission International (JCI) Standard ASC.7.4 also emphasises the importance for such a plan through its statement which reads, “Patient care after surgery is planned and documented.”

As each surgical patient’s postsurgical medical and nursing care needs usually differ, immediate postsurgical care is planned and includes medical, nursing, and others as indicated by the patient’s defined needs. The postsurgical care plan which can begin before surgery based on the patient’s assessed needs and condition, includes the level of care, care setting, follow-up monitoring or treatment, and need for medication.



The postoperative phase (which is each surgical patient’s postsurgical care period) continues until the patient is released from the surgeon’s care. When the client is discharged from the postanesthesia care unit (PACU), the surgeon will later decide the next level of care and the care setting for the patient.  The surgeon documents in the postsurgical plan whether the patient goes either directly to an inpatient hospital bed or to the outpatient ambulatory unit for observation or to discharge the patient to the patient’s home.

The postsurgical care plan will also contain information on follow-up monitoring of the postoperative patient’s return to normal (baseline) respiratory function and cardiopulmonary function and the patient is free from signs of a wound infection within 72 hours after surgery.

Postoperative discomforts like pain – which is usually most severe immediately after the patient’s recovery from anaesthesia, postoperative nausea, urinary retention,  postoperative constipation, postoperative flatus all require treatment and need medication. The treatment(s) and medications form part of the postsurgical care plan documentation.

A Health Information Management (HIM) / Medical Records (MR) practitioner will find among the contents of a medical record for a patient who had undergone surgery, a postsurgical plan(s) documented in the patient’s medical record by the responsible surgeon or verified by the responsible surgeon by co-signature on the documented plan entered by the surgeon’s delegate. The nursing postsurgical plan of care and when indicated by the patient’s needs, the postsurgical plan of care provided by others are also documented in the patient’s medical record. These are often documented in the progress notes. However, nursing care plans are not usually filed in the permanent patient record. The date and time for each of the plans of care documented in the patient’s medical record are evidence to verify that each planned care was provided and documentation was done within 24 hours of the surgery.

With this post, I believe I have completed posts on anaesthesia care and surgical care which have explicit reference to surgical documentation in a medical record for a patient who undergoes surgery.

References :
Caroline, BR & Mary, TK 2012, Textbook of basic nursing, 10th edn, Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, USA

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

Sue, CD & Patricia, KL 2011, Fundamentals of Nursing: Standards & Practice, 4th edn, Delmar, Cengage Learning, NY, USA

Physiological status monitoring and documentation during and immediately after surgery

Health Information Management (HIM) / Medical Records (MR) practitioners need to be aware that a medical record for a patient who had undergone surgery, has his or her monitoring findings of their physiological status written in his or her medical record. A patient’s physiological status is continuously monitored during (intraoperative) and immediately after surgery (postoperative), appropriate to the patient’s condition and the procedure performed.

I think HIM/MR practitioners also need to know why a patient’s physiological status is continuously monitored during and immediately after surgery and what is documented into the medical record, as I have outlined below.

Results of monitoring trigger key intraoperative decisions as well as postoperative decisions, such as return to surgery, transfer to another level of care, or discharge.

The focus of intraoperative care is to promote the patient’s achievement of expected intraoperative outcomes directed at placing the patient in a safe environment free from injury. The Operating Room (OR) team monitors the patient throughout the surgical procedure for complications, for example the patient’s fluid and electrolyte balance is maintained.

Before the client is transferred to the Post-Anaesthesia Care Unit (PACU), evaluation of the patient is based on reassessment of findings for the patient during surgery. The specific data on the achievement of patient outcomes in the intraoperative phase is documented on the OR record, i.e. the Operative Record.

The postoperative phase continues until the patient is released from the surgeon’s care. After surgery, the on-going care is directed toward restoring physiological functioning, promote healing, and prevent complications and return the patient to the preoperative health status. The patient is monitored for (i) respiratory status for example, one postoperative assessment finding on airway and respiratory status shows the patient is able to expel an oral airway and exhibits return of gag reflex after the patient is extubated, (ii) circulatory status, (iii) neurologic status (monitoring the patient’s level of consciousness), (iv) fluid and metabolic status (monitoring the patient’s (a) gastrointestinal system– for example, with abdominal surgery, abdominal distension to detect internal haemorrhage is monitored and (b) genitourinary system – for example, assessment for bladder distension, (v) level of discomfort or pain, and (vi) wound management.

Monitoring information guides medical and nursing care and identifies the need for diagnostic and other services.

Physiological monitoring during intraoperative and postoperative phases by the OR team is related to the same requirement for physiological monitoring during anaesthesia, which you can refer to from the earlier post Check your medical record for patient monitoring during anaesthesia (this link will open in a new tab of your current browser window).

Physiological monitoring during intraoperative and postoperative phases is documented in the postoperative progress notes and the Operative Record. The surgeon or nurse is responsible for documenting the medical and nursing aspects of physiological status monitoring.

If your hospital is seeking a hospital accreditation status for example the Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation status or already JCI accredited or plans for a JCI re-survey, then it is only normal to comply with the JCI Standard ASC.7.3 which states “Each patient’s physiological status is continuously monitored during and immediately after surgery and written in the patient’s record.”

References :
Joint Commission International 2010, Joint Commission International Accreditation Standards For Hospitals, 4th edn, JCI, USA

Sue, CD & Patricia, KL 2011, Fundamentals of Nursing: Standards & Practice, 4th edn, Delmar, Cengage Learning, NY, USA

Written surgical report

In Malaysia, in most instances Health Information Management (HIM) /
Medical Records (MR) practitioners may only find the postoperative note documented in the medical record. The postoperative note is an operative or other high-risk procedure report documented by the surgeon after surgery in the postoperative phase. This after surgery phase is when the client leaves the Operating Room (OR) and is taken to a Post-Anaesthesia Care Unit (PACU) and continues until the patient is discharged from the care of the surgeon upon completion of the operative or other high-risk procedure and before the patient is transferred to the next level of care.

In addition to the postoperative note, a surgeon may also dictate an operative record in hospitals where dictation services are available, in Malaysia or in other countries.Some hospitals may create special forms to facilitate an operative record documentation.

Thus, it is common to find a comprehensive operative progress note documented by the surgeon written in the progress notes in the patient medical record. However, a HIM/MR practitioner may also find that the patient medical record often contains as well as a transcribed operative record. Both of this documentation is authenticated by the responsible surgeon.

HIM/MR practitioners must not be confused between postoperative evaluations documented by the surgeon with postanaesthesia evaluations documented by the anaesthesiologists.

The content for the postoperative progress notes and/or operative record will normally contain documentation as follows:

  1. patient’s vital signs and level of consciousness
  2. any medications, including intravenous fluids, administered blood, blood products, and blood components
  3. any unanticipated events or complications (including estimated blood loss and blood transfusion reactions) and the management of those events, or the absence of complications during the procedure
  4. name of the procedure and techniques associated with the performance of surgery
  5. description of other procedures performed during operative episode
  6. description of gross operative findings, including organs explored
  7. postoperative diagnosis
  8. name of operative surgeon and assistants
  9. surgical specimens sent for examination
  10. documentation of ligatures, sutures, number of packs, drains, and sponges used
  11. date, time, and signature of responsible surgeon

If your hospital is seeking a hospital accreditation status for example the Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation status or already JCI accredited or plans for a JCI re-survey, then it is only normal to comply with the JCI Standard ASC.7.2  which requires :

(i) that there is a surgical report or a brief operative note (which may be used in lieu of the written surgical report) available prior to the patient leaving the postanesthesia recovery area to support a continuum of postsurgical supportive care, thus meeting Measurable Element (ME) 2 compliance for this standard, and

(ii) that the surgical report or a brief operative note is documented with at least the minimum six (6) elements as required by JCI Standard ASC.7.2, ME 1 (which I have already included in the list above) for the written surgical report or brief operative note in the patient’s medical record.

References :
Joint Commission International 2010, Joint Commission International Accreditation Standards For Hospitals, 4th edn, JCI, USA

Michelle, AG & Mary, JB 2011, Essentials of Health Information Management: Principles and Practices, 2nd edn, Delmar, Cengage Learning, NY, USA