February 1, 1958


Author Affiliations


Director, Student Health Service, and Associate Professor of Medicine (Preventive Medicine), University of Chicago (Dr. Herbolsheimer). Dr. Ballard was a medical student fellow in Preventive Medicine and Public Health of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis at the time this study was made and is now an intern at the University of Michigan Hospitals, Ann Arbor, Mich.

JAMA. 1958;166(5):444-453. doi:10.1001/jama.1958.02990050014003

Multiple screening as applied to entering students consists of a battery of tests, including a questionnaire, that can be administered to about 100 students per hour. It supplies a base line of health data on all new students and yields a preliminary classification for the department of physical education within the first few days of the quarter. It spares all students the indignity of a cursory physical examination rendered in public, sorts out those who are most likely to profit by an individual physical examination, and enables the physicians to interview the students later, if necessary, under much more favorable conditions. The advantages of this method were compared with those of the customary complete physical examination by applying both methods to each of 3,523 entering students. The results were studied as to their cost in time and money and also as to the frequency with which serious trouble either was mistakenly inferred or escaped detection. Both methods occasionally failed to detect serious defects or disease existing at the time of entrance, but the screening enabled the health service to learn with dispatch the prevalence of personal or public health problems among new students on the campus. The out-of-pocket cost of multiple screening was less than two-thirds that of the conventional examination technique. It calls for substantial planning, but both staff and students who were qualified to make comparisons favored it.