Family history-taking in community family practice: implications for genetic screening

Genet Med. 2000 May-Jun;2(3):180-5. doi: 10.1097/00125817-200005000-00004.


Purpose: To identify characteristics of physicians, patients, and visits associated with obtaining family history information in community family practice.

Methods: Research nurses directly observed 4,454 patient visits to 138 family physicians and reviewed office medical records.

Results: Family history was discussed during 51% of visits by new patients and 22% of visits by established patients. Physicians' rates of family history-taking varied from 0% to 81% of visits. Family history was more often discussed at well care rather than illness visits. The average duration of family history discussions was <2.5 minutes.

Conclusions: These data can form the basis for realistic interventions to increase the use of family history in primary care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Health Services
  • Family Health*
  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Genetic Testing*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care
  • Reproductive Techniques