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May 5, 2015

Family Health HistoryThe Case for Better Tools

Author Affiliations
  • 1Biomedical Informatics Center, Department of Public Health Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston
  • 2Department of Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • 4Department of Oncological Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
JAMA. 2015;313(17):1711-1712. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.2417

Every medical student remembers the clinical lesson to collect a family health history. In fact, the family history remains one of the most important resources available to help clinicians identify potential health risks and personalize care of their patients. Empowered with information from the family history, clinicians can guide their patients to take preventive steps and initiate mitigating strategies to reduce disease risk. For example, if a physician knows that a patient has a history of familial hypercholesterolemia, the physician can encourage the patient to make lifestyle changes or, if appropriate, take medication to reduce his or her risk for heart disease.

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