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.
Welch BM, Dere W, Schiffman JD. Family Health HistoryThe Case for Better Tools. JAMA. 2015;313(17):1711-1712. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.2417