History of the Present Illness, The history of the present illness HPI provides a chronological description of how the patient's present illness developed, from the first sign or symptom to the present. Abbreviation for history of present illness. Following the chief complaint in medical history taking, a history of the present illness. Chief complaint (CC); History of present illness (HPI); Review of systems. Does anyone have a good definition for HPI??? I could use some help in explaining this to physician in my office. A: An essential part of evaluation and management (E/M) documentation is history of present illness (HPI).