What is HPI?

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What is HPI?
HPI stands for “History of Present Illness”. It is used in the medical field to record and identify the possible scenarios and conditions that relate to the clinical problem presented by a particular patient. When a patient goes to seek treatment for example, he/she is usually asked several questions relating to his/her complaints. In some countries, like in the United Kingdom, HPC is the term used and this stands for History of Present Complaint.

Those in the medical profession are trained not just to get generic stories from patients to get the HPI. There are several items that need to be known so proper analysis and management may be given to the patients. Details such as symptom severity, location, duration, quality, and associations are typically asked during the patient interview. If a particular patient complains of pain for example, the exact location should be pinpointed. Patients are also asked about the quality of the pain experienced. Pain may be described as sharp or burning, and/or radiating depending on the patient’s condition. Severity of this pain is also graded by using several known pain scales. Basic pain scales involve patients grading their pain from 0 to 10 with 0 referring to no pain and 10 referring to the most severe pain. The onset of symptoms is also noted, because some may experience pain on specific times of day or when doing certain activities.

Aside from the basic information indicated above, patients are also advised to talk about possible conditions that lead to the increase or decrease of the symptoms felt. Some people feel an increase in symptoms like pain when performing basic activities like bending forward, or while walking. Some symptoms may also depend on other factors like the time of day, food intake, and various other factors.

HPI records must be detailed and specific to help give patients the best possible medical care. Management and treatment of the symptoms will partly be based on HPI, so great care must be taken in finding out the details from the patients during their interview.

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