Maybe an example will help:
Patient fell off swing yesterday, and noted immediate sharp pain in left wrist. This morning wrist is noticeably swollen and bruised.
Here you have 4 elements of HPI -
Duration - yesterday
Quality - sharp
Location - left wrist
Assoc sign - swollen, bruised
Patient with intermittent chest pain for past two days, described as "mild, more like tightness," worse with exercise such as going up stairs
This gives up 5 HPI elements (you only need 4 for highest level)
Timing - intermittent
Location - chest
Duration - two days
Quality - mild
Context - worse w/ exercise
Another thing you could do is take some of the actual HPIs your doc has documented and show how you get only 1 HPI element (for example).
F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CPC-E/M
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