Improving patient quality of life with feedback to physicians about functional status

J Gen Intern Med. 1995 Nov;10(11):607-14. doi: 10.1007/BF02602744.


Objective: To improve functional status among primary care patients.

Intervention: 1) Computer-generated feedback to physicians about the patient's functional status, the patient's self-reported "chief complaint," and problem-specific resource and management suggestions; and 2) two brief interactive educational sessions for physicians.

Design: Randomized controlled trial.

Setting: University primary care clinic.

Participants: All 73 internal medicine house officers and 557 of their new primary care patients.

Measures: 1) Change in patient functional status from enrollment until six months later, using the Functional Status Questionnaire (FSQ); 2) management plans and additional information about functional status abstracted from the medical record; and 3) physician attitude about whether internists should address functional status problems.

Results: Emotional well-being scores improved significantly for the patients of the experimental group physicians compared with those of the control group physicians (p < 0.03). Limitations in social activities indicated as "due to health" decreased among the elderly (> or = 70 years of age) individuals in the experimental group compared with the control group (p < 0.03). The experimental group physicians diagnosed more symptoms of stress or anxiety than did the control group physicians (p < 0.001) and took more actions recommended by the feedback form (p < 0.02).

Conclusions: Computer-generated feedback of functional status screening results accompanied by resource and management suggestions can increase physician diagnoses of impaired emotional well-being, can influence physician management of functional status problems, and can assist physicians in improving emotional well-being and social functioning among their patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine
  • Internship and Residency
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Microcomputers
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction* / statistics & numerical data
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Primary Health Care / standards*
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Life*