| One-Minute Clinician

SOAP vs HOPE: Talking to Patients

HOPE is a type of patient visit that differs from the old SOAP framework. Most patients don’t realize that as soon as they enter a doctor’s office they are stuck in a SOAP framework. SOAP is:

  • Subjective: What you tell me when you walk into my office
  • Objective: What I observe or the tests that I do
  • Assessment: Diagnosis
  • Plan: The treatment component

The primary goal of the SOAP note is to find out what is the matter with a patient, put a diagnosis to it, and then treat it. But that only deals with about 20% of what goes on in chronic illness.

Simple, systematic approaches during a patient's visit can help that patient tap into their inherent healing capacity. The HOPE note is a different way to have a dialogue between patient and doctor. It stands for Healing Oriented Practices and Environments. The simple questions/tools below can quickly move toward more patient-centered, integrative healthcare and enhance healing for any patient with chronic pain. HOPE addresses;

  • Your personal determinants of health
  • What matters to you in your life
  • Why you want to have health in the first place
  • The different components—social, behavior, lifestyle—that you can tap into to actually enhance your own healing

So HOPE is a different type of a visit. I call it an integrative health visit that focuses specifically on the underlying determinants of health.

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