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SOAP Model for Community Health Assessment

Practitioners of clinical medicine have an heuristic known as "SOAP," which stands for "Subjective, Objective, Assessment and Plan."

Clinicians get subjective information from the patient, including the patient's presenting complaint, experience of his or her symptoms, and collect objective information such as the results of blood pressure measurements, x-rays and blood tests. After collecting the patient data, the clinician makes a diagnosis (assessment), and then decides on a treatment plan.

The S.O.A.P. Model for Clinical and Community Health Assessment


Clinical Assessment Community Assessment
Subjective

Presenting complaint, symptoms, pain, medical interview

Community members, advisory boards, CBOs, focus groups, key informant interviews, qualitative surveys

Objective

Physical examination, Heart rate, BP, Blood test, X-ray

Morbidity, mortality rates, behavioral data, social determinants, quantitative surveys

Assessment

What is the diagnosis?

What are the priority health and safety issues?

Plan

What treatment will be most effective?

What interventions will be most effective?



The same heuristic can be applied to public health assessment. A clinician wouldn't think of prescribing a treatment without first collecting both subjective and objective information. As public health practitioners, we shouldn't consider planning or implementing programs or making policy decisions in the absence of relevant data.

important! icon In practice, public health decisions should probably not be based SOLELY on empirical (objective) data, but they should always be INFORMED by the data.


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The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site (http://ibis.health.state.nm.us). The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Fri, 18 January 2019 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: http://ibis.health.state.nm.us".

Content updated: Tue, 17 Jan 2017 13:17:39 MST