The letters SOAP stand for Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan. SOAP notes are actually structural definitions of health notes written for patients by health care providers. SOAP notes contain a lot of information, and the structure is used as both a quality control and an organizer for providers.
The subjective element contains notes of the patient's condition in a progressive or narrative form.
The objective element contains test results, pathology, vital signs and similar data.
The assessment element includes diagnoses and possible alternate diagnoses,forming a holistic approach to the diagnostic options.
The plan is based on the other elements to a large extent and provides a guide to intended treatment.
Examples of SOAP Note: