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12.0 Introduction to Flow Charts

Table of Contents

Syndromic approach of managing STIs/RTIs entails the service provider to follow laid down steps in a flow chart which guides him/her in making rational management decisions for treating the client. These are therefore known as treatment flow-charts. They may also be known as treatment algorithms, treatment protocols or treatment decision trees. They guide the provider through a series of decisions and actions that need to be made. Each decision or action is enclosed in a box, with one or two routes leading out of it to another box, with another decision or action. Upon learning a patient’s symptoms and signs, the service provider turns to the flow chart for the relevant syndrome and works through the decisions and suggestions it guides to manage the client accordingly. Each flow chart is made up of a series of three steps. These are:

  • The clinical problem (the patients presenting symptoms and signs),
  • The decision that needs to be taken,
  • The action that needs to be carried out.

Steps in using the flow charts:

  • Start by asking the patient for his/her symptoms
  • Find the appropriate flow chart, stated in the clinical problem box with “Patient Complaints of.”
  • The clinical problem box usually leads to an action box, which asks you to examine the patient and/or take the history.
  • Next, move to the decision box. After taking the history and examining the patient you should have the necessary information to choose Yes or No accurately.
  • Depending on your choice, there may be further decision boxes and action boxes.

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