Using health status surveys in medical consultations

Med Care. 1994 Jul;32(7):732-44. doi: 10.1097/00005650-199407000-00006.


The goal of this research was to identify patients' preferences for physician inquiry into various aspects of health status and to examine whether the preconsultation availability of health status data (collected from the SF-36 Health Status Questionnaire) influenced the physician's conduct during the consultation. Results from 58 prenatal patient visits yielded the following findings. First, patients expressed strong preferences for physicians to ask about the patient's perceptions of health in general and about physical dimensions of health status such as pain, vitality, and role limitations due to physical functioning. Patients also were more satisfied when doctors were perceived as having asked about these issues. Second, patients varied considerably in their preferences for physician inquiries into psychosocial issues such as social functioning, mental health, and role limitations due to emotional problems. Approximately half the patients wanted these matters discussed, whereas the remainder either did not care or preferred that doctors not ask about these topics. Third, the preconsultation availability of health status information had little effect on the degree to which physicians asked about the patient's health-related quality of life. Clinical implications are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Female
  • Health Services Research / methods
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking / methods*
  • Medical History Taking / statistics & numerical data
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Hospital
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patients / psychology
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Prenatal Care
  • Psychology, Social
  • Research Design
  • Texas