Medical records are kept for two purposes: to aid in the care of the patient at hand and to provide data from which new knowledge can be gained, for the benefit of future patients. As the goals of medical practice broaden, medical records must become more comprehensive. For the physician whose sole aim is the treatment of diseased persons, a simple record of the course of the disease and the therapeutic agents used may be adequate; but, when the goal is broadened to include the prevention of disease and the cultivation of optimum physical and mental health, then more data on the patient and his environment must be recorded. The many hereditary, congenital, metabolic, traumatic, psychological, climatic, occupational, social, and other factors that may contribute to the production of health or disease must be investigated and recorded so that their medical significance can be determined. With knowledge gained in this
WHOLE LIFE RECORDS. JAMA. 1953;152(8):711. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.03690080055017
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