Medical student documentation in the medical record: A liability?

Peter Gliatto, Philip Masters, Reena Karani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Medical students have routinely documented patient encounters in both inpatient and outpatient care venues. This hands-on experience has provided a way for students to reflect on patient encounters, learn proper documentation skills, and attain a sense of being actively involved in and responsible for the care of patients. Over the last several years, the practice of student note writing has come into question. Institutional disincentives to student documentation include insurance regulations that restrict student documentation from substantiating billing claims, concerns about the legal status of student notes, and implementation of electronic medical records that do not allow or restrict student access. The increased scrutiny of the medical record from pay-for-performance programs and other quality measures will likely add to the pressure to exclude students from writing notes. This trend in limiting medical student documentation may have wideranging consequences for student education, from delaying the learning of proper documentation skills to limiting training opportunities. This article reviews the educational value of student note writing, the factors that have made student documentation problematic, and the potential educational impact of limiting student documentation. In addition, it offers some suggestions for future research to guide policy in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-364
Number of pages8
JournalMount Sinai Journal of Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009


  • Chart note
  • Documentation
  • Electronic medical record
  • Medical record
  • Medical student
  • Progress note


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