Problem Oriented Medical Records: Comprehensive Way to Care for Your Patients

Problem oriented medical records are a system for organizing patient information. This type of record can help improve patient care by providing a more comprehensive overview of the patient’s condition and treatment. What this means is that, instead of just looking at the sequence of events, problem oriented medical records focus on the problems being treated.

What is Problem Oriented Medical Records?

Problem-Oriented Medical Records (POMR) are a method of charting that provides a systematic way of gathering all the important information about a patient’s medical problem. It arranges this information in an easy-to-read format that can be used to make clinical decisions.

POMRs are different from traditional medical records, which tend to focus on individual visits or episodes of care. POMRs provide a more holistic view of the patient’s health, making them an important tool for coordinating care among different providers.

History of Problem Oriented Medical Records (POMR)

What is Problem Oriented Medical Records

The POMR system was developed in the 1970s by Dr. Lawrence Weed, a professor of medicine at the University of Vermont. The POR system is based on the premise that it is more important to document and track a patient’s problems than it is to document individual treatments.

Components of a Problem-Oriented Medical Record (POMR)

The Problem-Oriented Medical Record (POMR) system is a medical record-keeping system that focuses on patient problems rather than on individual treatments.

The POMR system has four main components:

  • Defined Information: Gathered information of patients is stored. These materials help patients understand their medical problems and how to best manage them.
  • The Problem List: The problem list is a list of all of the patient’s medical problems, both active and resolved. The problem list should be updated at every visit and should be readily available to all members of the healthcare team.
  • The Management Plan: The management plan is a summary of the treatment plan for each problem on the problem list. The management plan should be updated at every visit and should be readily available to all members of the healthcare team.
  • Progress Notes: These are written records of each patient encounter. In the POR system, progress notes are organized around the problems on the problem list. That is, each progress note focuses on one or more problems and documents what was done during that encounter to address those problems.

How to Implement a Problem-Oriented Record System in Your Practice

A problem-oriented record system is a great way to keep track of your patient’s medical problems and treatments. By keeping a detailed record of each problem and its corresponding treatment, you can more easily identify patterns and trends in your patient’s health. This can help you provide better care for your patients and improve your overall practice.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when you’re setting up a problem-oriented medical record system for your practice:

  • Each patient should have their file to avoid any mix-ups so you can track their individual medical history. This will make referencing specific problems and treatments much easier down the road.
  • Be sure to document every problem and treatment thoroughly with as much detail as possible. That way, you can easily identify patterns that might emerge over time. This is key to providing the best possible care for your patients.
  • Organize your files in a way that makes sense for both you and your staff members. This will ensure that everyone can lay their hands on the information they need when they need it without any hassle. Having a streamlined system like this will save you valuable time in the long run.
  • Remember to keep your records up-to-date regularly! That way, you’ll always have the most accurate information at your fingertips when you need it most.

Challenges of Implementing POMR

Despite these potential benefits, there are also challenges associated with implementing POMR in healthcare settings.

  • One obstacle is that it requires a shift in thinking for both physicians and staff members who are used to working with traditional medical records.
  • Another challenge is that POMR can be time-consuming to implement correctly. Done poorly, it can end up wasting time rather than saving it.
  • Additionally, because POMR relies heavily on clinical documentation, accurate coding is essential for billing purposes—something that can be difficult to achieve consistency across different providers and settings.

Despite these challenges, however, many experts believe that the benefits of using POMR outweigh the drawbacks, making it worth exploring further as a way to improve patient care quality and efficiency within healthcare organizations.

How to Implement a Problem-Oriented Record System in Your Practice

How Can Problem-Oriented Records Improve Patient Care?

There are many ways in which problem-oriented records can improve patient care:

  • Better coordination of care: Problem-oriented records can help coordinate care by providing all relevant information in one place. This can make it easier for providers to work together to develop a treatment plan that meets the needs of the patient.
  • Increased efficiency: Problem-oriented records can help increase efficiency by reducing duplicate testing and preventing unnecessary procedures. Additionally, problem-oriented records can help shorten hospital stays and reduce readmission rates.
  • Active role in healthcare: Patients who have access to their own POMR can play a more active role in their healthcare by being able to track their progress over time and see how their condition has changed with different treatments.

The Benefits of Using a Problem-Oriented Record System

Problem-oriented record systems offer many advantages over traditional systems. Some more benefits of using a problem-oriented record system include:

  • More Complete Patient History: A problem-oriented record system helps to provide a more complete picture of a patient’s medical history. This information can be important when making decisions about treatment options or when coordinating care with other providers.
  • Improved Coordination of Care: Problem-oriented records can make it easier for healthcare providers to coordinate care. This is because all relevant information about a patient’s condition is captured in one place. This can make it easier to communicate with other members of the care team and to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
  • Improved Disease Management: Problem-oriented records can help to improve disease management by identifying patterns of illness among groups of patients. This information can be used to develop more effective prevention and treatment strategies for specific diseases.
  • Reduced Medical Errors: Problem-oriented records can help to reduce medical errors by ensuring that all relevant information about a patient’s problems is documented in one place. This minimizes the chances that important information will be missed or misinterpreted.

Disadvantages of Problem Oriented Records

Pursuing a problem-oriented approach to record-keeping can have certain disadvantages.

  • One disadvantage is that it can be time-consuming to constantly document every single detail of a client’s case. This can be especially true if the case is complex or if there are multiple problems involved.
  • Another downside is that a problem-oriented approach can sometimes cause professionals to focus too much on the problems themselves, rather than on finding solutions. This can result in an imbalance in the care that is provided to clients.
  • Lastly, because problem-oriented records are usually quite detailed, they can be difficult for others to understand and interpret if they are not familiar with the case. This can make it challenging for professionals to share information and collaborate effectively on a client’s care.

Do the Advantages Overweigh Disadvantages?

Despite these disadvantages, many professionals still find that a problem-oriented approach to record-keeping has many advantages that outweigh its drawbacks. For example, this type of documentation can provide a more complete picture of a client’s situation and serve as an important reference tool when making treatment decisions. Additionally, problem-oriented records can help highlight areas where improvements need to be made in the delivery of care.

The Benefits of Using a Problem-Oriented Record System

Electronic Health Records Vs. Problem Oriented Medical Records

The healthcare industry is rapidly evolving, and with that, the way medical records are kept and accessed is also changing. In the past, most medical offices relied on paper records, which were then stored in filing cabinets. These days, however, many practices are moving to electronic health records (EHRs).

While EHRs offer many benefits, there is still some debate about whether they are better than traditional paper charts. Electronic health records (EHRs) are digital versions of the paper charts used in clinicians’ offices. They include patient medical histories, diagnoses, medications, treatment plans, immunization dates, allergies, lab results, and radiology images.

How do Problem Oriented Medical Records differ from Electronic Health Records?

In recent years, there has been a push to replace paper medical records with electronic health records (EHRs).  While both EHRs and problem-oriented medical records (POMRs) have their benefits, there are some key ways in which they differ.

  • One of the major differences between POMRs and EHRs is how they are organized.

POMRs follow a “problem-oriented” approach, which means that each patient’s record is organized around the problems that they are being treated for. On the other hand, EHRs are organized chronologically, meaning that each patient’s record is a timeline of all the different procedures and treatments they have received.

  • Another key difference between POMRs and EHRs is how much detail they include.

POMRs are designed to capture all of the relevant information about a patient’s condition in one place. This includes everything from symptoms and test results to treatment plans and progress notes. EHRs, on the other hand, tend to be more focused on documenting specific procedures and treatments. While they may include some information about a patient’s condition, they will not have as much detail as a POMR.

  • There are also some differences in how POMRs and EHRs are used by doctors.

POMRs are typically used by doctors as a way to track a patient’s progress over time and ensure that all of their different problems are being addressed. EHRs, on the other hand, can be used by doctors to access a patient’s medical history or to order tests and prescriptions online.

Electronic Health Records Vs. Problem Oriented Medical Records-Which One is Better?

Some doctors prefer EHRs because they feel that they offer a more complete picture of a patient’s health. EHRs can also be easier to share with other members of a patient’s care team. However, some doctors prefer POMRs because they find them easier to use and more efficient. Ultimately, the decision of which type of record to use is up to the individual doctor.

  • One of the biggest problems with EHRs is that they can be difficult to use. Many clinicians report that EHRs are time-consuming and cumbersome, which can lead to frustration and reduced productivity. In some cases, this can even lead to errors in patient care.
  • Another problem with EHRs is that they often do not provide the level of detail that clinicians need to make informed decisions about patient care. This is because EHRs are typically designed for billing purposes, rather than for clinical decision-making. As a result, clinicians may not have all of the information they need when making decisions about patient care.
  • Finally, EHRs can also be a source of stress for clinicians. The constant demands of inputting data into the system can be overwhelming, and the fear of making errors can add even more stress. This can lead to burnout and turnover among clinical staff.

Given all of these problems, it’s no wonder that many healthcare organizations are now considering adopting a problem-oriented medical record (POMR) system instead of an EHR system. POMR systems are designed specifically for clinical decision-making, which means that they provide clinicians with the detailed information they need to make informed decisions about patient care. In addition, POMR systems are typically easier to use than EHR systems, which can reduce clinician frustration and increase productivity.


A problem-oriented medical record is a system used to document a patient’s health care journey. It is designed to improve patient care by identifying and addressing problems early. The benefits of using a problem-oriented record system include improved communication among care team members; better coordination of care; and improved patient outcomes.