A Comprehensive Guide to Telehealth SOAP Notes in 2024

A Comprehensive Guide to Telehealth SOAP Notes in 2024

11 Jan 2022
7 min
soap notes template 2024

SOAP notes stand for Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan and are not your ordinary notes. It is a standardized documenting method to ensure professionals clearly and accurately record their patient information.

Even in telehealth settings, nursing SOAP notes are vital in documenting patient encounters, assessments, and treatment plans. And that's what we're here to discuss—how telehealth SOAP notes streamline communication to ensure consistent care delivery. 

This guide focuses on fundamental principles and advanced techniques of telehealth SOAP notes. Whether you're a seasoned practitioner or new to telehealth, unlock the keys to seamless, patient-centric SOAP notes documentation. This guide will empower practitioners, like you, to provide exceptional care from anywhere.

Understanding SOAP Notes Further

For practitioners to navigate telehealth SOAP notes effectively, we must fully grasp its foundational concepts. Let's dig deeper and understand the significance of SOAP notes in telehealth documentation.

What are SOAP Notes

SOAP notes serve as a standardized format for organizing patient information concisely. SOAP notes help healthcare providers communicate clearly, ensuring patients receive ongoing care and aiding in making effective decisions.

Four Components of SOAP Notes:

  • Subjective: This section captures subjective information the patients provide, including symptoms, complaints, and relevant medical history. It relies on the patient's perspective and self-reported data.
  • Objective: The objective component consists of observable and measurable data obtained through physical examinations, diagnostic tests, and healthcare provider observations.
  • Assessment: Here, healthcare providers analyze the subjective and objective data to formulate a diagnosis. This section involves clinical reasoning and critical thinking based on the presented information.
  • Plan: The plan section outlines the proposed treatment plan, including interventions, medications, follow-up appointments, and patient education. It serves as a roadmap for ongoing patient care.

Why is Organizing Soap Notes Detail Important? 

  • Effectively organizing details on your SOAP notes ensures clarity, accuracy, and clarity. 
  • It also facilitates efficient communication among healthcare team members, reducing the risk of errors and improving patient outcomes. 
  • Lastly, detailed documentation enhances legal and regulatory compliance while providing a comprehensive patient care record.

Once you understand the components of SOAP notes, you can utilize this method to enhance telehealth practice.

Explanation of SOAP Notes in Telehealth

Integrating SOAP notes into telehealth practices represents a significant evolution in healthcare documentation. As traditional methods transition into virtual settings, we must also understand the historical context and importance of SOAP notes.

Evolution of SOAP Notes in Telehealth

The historical roots of SOAP notes trace back to traditional in-person healthcare settings. However, with the rise of telehealth, these notes have undergone adaptation to suit virtual consultations. This evolution involves leveraging technology to facilitate remote patient care while preserving the structure and integrity of SOAP notes.

This development highlights the flexibility of medical documentation practices to meet the changing needs of healthcare delivery. It demonstrates how SOAP notes have paved the way for modern medical documentation, including telehealth.

Importance of SOAP Notes for Remote Patient Care

SOAP notes are a vital documentation tool in remote patient care. It enhances communication between providers and patients. By capturing subjective, objective, assessment, and plan details, these notes enable healthcare professionals to make informed decisions. It also helps track patient progress and deliver personalized care from anywhere.

Subjective Assessment

Effective communication is paramount in gathering subjective information during virtual consultations. Healthcare providers must employ various tools and techniques, such as video calls to elicit relevant patient data remotely.

Gathering Subjective Information

Effective communication is critical in gathering subjective information during virtual consultations. Healthcare providers must employ various tools and techniques to gather relevant patient data remotely.

Documenting Subjective Findings

Clear and concise documentation of subjective findings is essential in telehealth SOAP notes. Healthcare providers should follow the best methods to correctly record what patients report about their symptoms and worries. This includes noting down the time of each entry and using the same terms that everyone understands.

Nursing SOAP Note Example for Subjective Documentation

The patient, a 45-year-old male, presents with complaints of severe chest pain radiating to the left arm, accompanied by shortness of breath. He reports a history of hypertension and occasional palpitations. The patient states the symptoms began approximately two hours ago while he was at rest.

Objective Assessment

Conducting Remote Examinations

Telehealth tools enable providers to conduct objective assessments remotely. By leveraging features such as video conferencing, virtual examination tools, and wearable devices, practitioners may remotely monitor vital signs. 

Recording Objective Findings

Providers should document objective findings, including vital signs, physical exam findings, and diagnostic test results within SOAP notes. Using multimedia elements, such as images and videos, enhances the clarity of objective documentation.

Medical SOAP Note Example for Objective Documentation:

Upon examination, the patient appears diaphoretic and in moderate distress. 

  1. Vital signs reveal blood pressure elevated at 160/100 mmHg
  2. Heart rate of 110 bpm, respiratory rate of 24 breaths per minute, and 
  3. oxygen saturation of 92% on room air.

 Auscultation reveals bilateral crackles in lung bases and an irregular heartbeat. ECG shows ST-segment elevation in leads II, III, and aVF, suggestive of an acute myocardial infarction.


Assessment is a critical component of healthcare, encompassing the collection and analysis of data to evaluate patients' health conditions. It's important for healthcare providers to accurately document what patients tell them about their symptoms and concerns. It allows informed diagnoses and tailored treatment plans, optimizing patient care and outcomes.

Analyzing Subjective and Objective Data

Integrating subjective and objective data allows providers to form comprehensive assessments of patients' health status. Identifying patterns and trends within the data aids in identifying potential diagnoses and developing appropriate management plans.

Differential Diagnosis in Telehealth

Telehealth presents unique challenges for differential diagnosis, including limited physical examination capabilities and reliance on patient-reported information. Providers must employ strategies such as thorough history-taking, judicious use of diagnostic tests, and collaboration to achieve accurate diagnoses remotely.

SOAP Assessment Example

The patient's symptoms and clinical observations indicate a potential acute myocardial infarction. Clinical reasoning indicates the need for immediate intervention to restore coronary perfusion and prevent further myocardial damage.

Developing Plans

Collaborative decision-making empowers patients to actively participate in their healthcare journey, leading to better adherence and outcomes. Additionally, thorough documentation within SOAP notes enhances communication, care delivery, and patient safety, thereby fostering optimal treatment outcomes.

Treatment Plans

Collaborative decision-making between providers and patients is integral to developing effective treatment plans in telehealth. To enhance treatment adherence and facilitate shared decision-making, healthcare providers should educate patients about their treatment options. This includes:

  1. Explaining medication regimens
  2. Discussing lifestyle changes
  3. Providing guidance on follow-up care 

Such education empowers patients to actively participate in their healthcare decisions, leading to improved treatment outcomes.

Documentation of Treatment Plans

Thorough documentation of treatment plans within SOAP notes ensures clarity and accountability in patient care. Providers should detail medication prescriptions, referrals to specialists, and recommended lifestyle adjustment, along with clear instructions for implementation and follow-up.

SOAP Medical Example for Plan 

Administer aspirin 325 mg orally and nitroglycerin sublingually to relieve the patient's chest pain. Perform emergency cardiac catheterization to assess coronary artery status and determine the need for revascularization.

Concurrently, the patient will receive supplemental oxygen to maintain oxygen saturation above 94%. Initiate continuous cardiac monitoring and transfer the patient to the cardiac care unit for further management and observation.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Ensuring legal and ethical compliance is fundamental in telehealth practice to protect patient rights and privacy. Ensuring compliance in telehealth involves two key components:

  1. Adhering to regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to safeguard patient privacy and data security.
  2. Obtaining informed consent from patients for documenting telehealth encounters, ensuring transparency and respect for patient autonomy.

These measures uphold ethical standards and legal requirements in telehealth practice.

HIPAA Compliance in Telehealth SOAP Notes

Maintaining patient privacy is paramount in telehealth practice. Providers must adhere to HIPAA regulations by ensuring secure transmission and storage of electronic SOAP notes.

Informed Consent for Telehealth Documentation

Providers should obtain informed consent from patients when documenting telehealth encounters, including the recording and storage of sessions. Patients should be aware of their information and usage or have the opportunity to ask questions or express concerns.

Tools and Technologies

Telehealth Platforms for SOAP Notes

Telehealth software platforms, such as Upvio, Zoom for Healthcare, and offer unique features and integrations to streamline documentation. These tools further enhance the telehealth experience.

Integrating Electronic Health Records

Integration of telehealth SOAP notes with EHRs promotes seamless delivery of care and facilitates information exchange between healthcare providers. Providers should leverage EHR systems to ensure comprehensive documentation and access to patient information across care settings.

Best Practices and Tips

 When documenting SOAP notes, it's essential to follow best practices to ensure clarity, accuracy, and efficiency:

  1. Organize Information: Structure notes using the SOAP format (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan) for clear and systematic documentation. 
  2. Be Concise: Use concise language to convey information efficiently while including all relevant details. Avoid unnecessary explanation. 
  3. Use Measurable Data: Objective observations should be measurable, providing specific details about the patient's condition or response to treatment. 
  4. Avoid Biases: Maintain fairness in documentation, avoiding personal biases or interpretations that could influence the assessment and plan. Stick to factual observations and professional judgments. 
  5. Update Regularly: Document changes in the patient's condition, treatment plan adjustments, and any new developments during subsequent visits. This step will ensure continued care. 
  6. HIPAA Compliance: Ensure compliance with HIPAA regulations by safeguarding patient privacy when documenting sensitive health information. 
  7. Be Legible: Write legibly or use electronic health record systems to prevent error of notes.


Mastering the art of SOAP note documentation in telehealth is essential for navigating virtual healthcare effectively in 2024. Understanding SOAP notes, using telehealth tools, and following legal and ethical rules help healthcare providers give great remote care.

Embracing best practices and continuous learning empowers providers to excel in telehealth practice and deliver patient-centered care.

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