EHR Physical Assessment Document for Simulation – Includes Excel Template

This week’s HealthySim exclusive article describes how to generate a low cost EHR Physical Assessment form with dropdown menus. A free downloadable excel template is included! Recently HealthySim has published several other articles related to Excel use in healthcare simulation including:

The Need for EHR Physical Assessments

Healthcare students need to practice inputting physical assessment data into an Electronic Health Record. Excel is ideally suited to providing low cost practice workbooks.  Commercial Electronic Health Record software contains drop down menus which allow the recorder to select from a preset list of responses.


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Generation of Dropdown Options Using Excel

  • Excel 2016 Example
    • Creating drop down list.
      • In a column, create a list of responses starting in cell B2: Make the list vertical.
        • Assessing sensation:
          • Present (B2)
          • Absent (B3)
          • Numbness, tingling (B4)
      • Make sure the formula bar is present – if not go to “View” tab at the top of the workbook and put a checkmark next to formula bar.
      • Highlight the list (cells B2, B3, B4).
      • Look in the box on the far left of the formula bar and the first cell of your list will be shown.  In this case B2.
      • Rename the cells selected as “Sensationlist” – hit enter to save the change (no spaces between words).
    • Insert Drop Down Menu into workbook (page).
      • Open Physical Assessment Workbook.
        • Label a cell Sensation
        • In the cell to the immediate right of Selection.
          • Select Data Tab from the top menu
          • Select Data Validation
            • Under Data Validation Settings
              • Select Validation Criteria – select List
            • Under Source type in =Sensationlist
              • Do not forget the equal sign.
              • Select OK.
  • For Excel 2010 Inserting Drop Down Menu
    • Select Data tab and Validate (instead of Data Validation).
  • When the physical assessment page (workbook) is ready to use, select View tab and hide the gridlines, headlines, ruler and formula bar. This presents a much cleaner sheet to the user without the distraction of the Excel menus.
  • Note also that this above drop down menu was created on a Mac. The PC version is very similar.
  • The linked template is for a basic nursing physical assessment but it may be adapted to any specialty.
    • Use the linked template as a starting point
  • To clean up your name list or delete names, go to Formula tab and then select “Define Name”.  Unwanted list names can be deleted here.

Learn more about creating drop downs in Microsoft Office Excel here.


Today’s article was guest authored by Kim Baily PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, Simulation Coordinator for Los Angeles Harbor College. Over the past 15 years Kim has developed and implemented several college simulation programs and currently chairs the Southern California Simulation Collaborative.

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Download HealthySim’s Free EHR Physical Assessment Excel Template Here!


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