Data Entry Using Flow Sheets

The purpose of this essay is to describe the purpose of flow sheets in a medical environment, describe the purpose of a problem oriented flow sheet, and describe how to develop a flow sheet from a form. Flow sheets displays data from numerous encounters in column form. This type of format permits the use of side by side comparison of findings over a specific amount of time. Flow sheets are preferred because it enables health care providers to recognize a trend in a patient’s health condition much easier.

The purpose of a flow sheet in the medical environment is to graph continuously changing factors. Flow sheets are used in routine care like, respiration, pain, nutrition, elimination, iv therapy, wound, tubes, hygiene, activity, sleep, safety, progress sheets and vital signs. Flow sheets are perfect in the management of chronic diseases such as lupus.

Flow sheets are used in obstetric offices to monitor pregnancies because it allows them to be able to view and document previous and current encounters at the same time. In labor, flow sheets present the progression of labor, including the number of centimeters that the cervix dilated, the baby’s heart rate, the effacement of the cervix, the position of the baby’s head, the mother’s blood pressure and temperature, the frequency of contractions, and any medications given or procedures performed. In a chaotic situation like child birth, a flow sheet is the only reasonable means of documentation.

The purpose of a problem oriented flow sheet is to provide the health care provider with a view of the patient’s existing data that is relevant to a current problem. For example, if a person with diabetes is not managing their health properly, it can have a negative effect on every organ in that person’s body, I’ll use hypertension as an example. We know the patient has diabetes and the patient has just been diagnosed with hypertension. The provider can create a problem oriented flow sheet to export the vital signs taken when the patient was seen for their diabetes to see exactly when the patient’s blood pressure began to increase. The difference between a form based flow sheet and a problem oriented flow sheet is a problem oriented flow sheet is focus on a particular problem rather than a form.

The toolbar near the top of the MEDCIN screen has more buttons when viewing in the forms tab. Two of the buttons in the forms tab are used for summoning the flow sheet view. One of those buttons creates a flow sheet based on a form. To invoke a flow sheet from a form, click on the button that is labeled list size and set it to 1. Find and click on the button “FS Form” in the tool bar by the top of the screen. The button will change to orange and the screen will change to the flow sheet view. The FS Forms button is used to view a flow sheet when you are in the forms tab (Electronic Health Records, Understanding and using computerized medical records, R. Gartee, pg. 304)


Gartee, R. (2011). Electronic health records: Understanding and using computerizedmedical records (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Using Flow Sheets to Improve Diabetes Care. (n.d.). Retrieved July 2, 2016, from

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