What is a problem list?

This is a precise list of the patient’s current unsolved problems (i.e. problems which are still active and need to be addressed). The problems may be medical as well as social or economic. A carefully drawn-up problem list is one of the most important parts of the whole examination and makes sure that no problem is forgotten. Do not include problems which have already been resolved. As soon as a problem has been solved it should be removed from the problem list. From the problem list, an attempt should be made to reach one or more diagnoses. A diagnosis may be included as a problem.

The following is a typical problem list:

  1. Poverty, with poor housing
  2. Failing to thrive, with weight below the 3rd centile
  3. Incomplete immunisation
  4. Pneumonia
  5. Dental caries

A problem list is a precise list of the patient’s current unsolved problems.

The problem-orientated medical record has been a major advance in improving patient care and is widely accepted as the best method of keeping records.

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