SOAP Progress Notes Template

A SOAP progress note template that helps to improve your clinical notes while saving you time.

By Bernard Ramirez on Jul 21, 2024.


Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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What are SOAP progress notes?

SOAP notes are a specific type of format structure for progress notes. This form of clinical documentation aims to track the improvement of patients, facilitate better communication between members of a patient's care team, and provide evidence for insurance providers. SOAP notes separate information into four relevant sections:


This section details the patient's reporting of their chief complaint. Direct quotes from the patient are often included, as well as their symptoms and how the problem impacts their day-to-day life.


The objective section includes the practitioner's observation of the patient's behavior and affect. It should also include details regarding any tests, examinations, scans, or laboratory screenings completed during the session.


The assessment is essentially a synthesis of the subjective and objective sections, where the practitioner evaluates the patient's condition. It is where the practitioner analyzes or interprets the patient's complaint, how they responded to treatment, and whether they are progressing toward their goals. Learn more about how to conduct the assessment part of a SOAP note.


Finally, the practitioner writes the patient's future treatment details in the plan section. These could include upcoming sessions, referrals, changes to the treatment plan, and any short—or long-term goals.

The SOAP note format is clear and concise, ensuring healthcare providers include all critical information in their clinical notes. Its structure makes it applicable to all kinds of healthcare, so you can use SOAP notes templates as a starting point regardless of your field.

How to use our SOAP Progress Notes Template PDF

Healthcare practitioners can follow these steps to use and effectively write medical notes with our free SOAP note template:

Step 1: Access and download the template

You can access a blank SOAP note template by clicking on the links within this page or by exploring Carepatron's template gallery. You can also check the SOAP note example within this guide as a reference point to make the most out of this resource.

Step 2: Fill out details

The next step is to document patient information, which involves assessing the patient's health status, present illness, medical history, and physical examination findings. You must fill out the SOAP note with the date of your session with the client, their name, and ID (if there is one).

Step 3: Write the SOAP sections

At the heart of SOAP note formats lie its four components: the subjective, objective, assessment, and plan sections. To complete the SOAP note, you should enter information in each part, with only critical information listed concisely. It's okay if some sections are longer than others.

Step 4: Sign and date the note

At the bottom of the SOAP note, include your signature and today's date for authorization purposes.

Step 5: Securely store your SOAP notes

Once you've completed the entire SOAP note, make sure that you securely store it, ideally within a practice management software. Ideally, this software can also have a built-in SOAP notes feature to help you stay compliant and provide a greater protection barrier against data breaches.

Benefits of using a SOAP Progress Note Template

Using a SOAP note template offers several benefits for medical practitioners, streamlining the documentation process and enhancing patient care.

Standardized format

SOAP note templates provide a consistent structure and documentation method for patient progress, ensuring that all essential information is captured logically and organized. This consistency facilitates efficient communication among healthcare teams and ensures continuity of care. There are also available SOAP note examples that you can use as a guide when starting out.


Pre-formatted templates eliminate the need to create documentation from scratch, saving valuable time for healthcare practitioners. By simply filling in the relevant sections, practitioners can focus more on delivering quality care to their patients.

Comprehensive documentation

SOAP note templates prompt practitioners to record subjective and objective data, assessments, and treatment plans, reducing the risk of overlooking crucial details. Comprehensive documentation supports better patient care and provides patient education and legal protection in case of disputes or legal proceedings.

Customization options

Many SOAP note templates are available in editable formats, allowing healthcare practices or individual practitioners to customize the templates to suit their specific needs or specialties. This flexibility ensures the documentation captures relevant information tailored to the practice area.

Best practices in using the SOAP format

When it comes to effectively using the SOAP format for documenting patient encounters, following best practices can ensure comprehensive, accurate, and efficient documentation. Here are some essential best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Be specific and concise: In each section of the SOAP note, aim to provide relevant and precise details while avoiding ambiguous or subjective statements. Use clear and concise language to communicate the necessary information effectively.
  2. Utilize appropriate terminology: Incorporate standard medical terminology and abbreviations to ensure consistency and clarity within the healthcare team. This practice prevents misunderstandings and facilitates effective professional communication.
  3. Document objective data: In the Objective section, prioritize recording measurable and observable data obtained through physical examinations, vital signs, lab results, and other diagnostic findings. This objective information forms the foundation for accurate assessments and treatment plans.
  4. Link assessments to findings: Ensure that the Assessment section directly correlates with the Subjective and Objective information gathered. Clearly outline the rationale behind the diagnosis or identified condition based on the documented findings and measurable data.
  5. Outline a comprehensive plan: In the Plan section, provide a detailed outline of the proposed treatment plan, including medications, therapies, follow-up appointments, patient education, and any other recommendations based on the assessment. A well-documented plan can improve patient adherence, facilitate continuity of care, and improve coordination with other healthcare providers.

Read our blog article about how to write SOAP notes to learn more.

How do you write a progress note?
How do you write a progress note?

Commonly asked questions

How do you write a progress note?

To write a practical progress note, start with the patient's identifying information, followed by the date and time of the encounter. Summarize the patient's current symptoms, changes since the last visit, and relevant vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, and other data. Document the assessment, including any diagnoses or problems being addressed, and outline the care plan, including any new medications, treatments, or referrals. Conclude the note with your signature, credentials, and the total time spent with the patient.

What is the SOAP progress note method?

The SOAP progress note method is widely used for documenting patient encounters. It consists of four sections: Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan. The Subjective section includes the patient's chief complaint and relevant subjective information. The Objective section contains physical exam findings, vital signs, laboratory results, and other objective data. The Assessment section summarizes the clinical impression, including diagnoses or problems being addressed. The Plan section outlines the proposed treatment plan, including new medications, therapies, referrals, or follow-up instructions.

How to write SOAP notes quickly?

To write SOAP notes efficiently, familiarize yourself with the SOAP format and practice using it regularly. Judiciously utilize templates, abbreviations, and medical terminology, and focus on capturing essential details while avoiding unnecessary information. Consider using voice-to-text software or dictation services to speed up the note-writing process. Review and edit your notes before finalizing them to ensure accuracy and completeness.

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