Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Panel Assesses Evidence For The Collection And Use Of Family Health History Information

Date:
August 27, 2009
Source:
NIH/National Institutes of Health, Office of Disease Prevention
Summary:
Though most Americans are familiar with completing a questionnaire about their family health history when visiting health care providers, an independent panel was convened by the National Institutes of Health to critically assess exactly what we know and what we need to learn about how this process relates to improving health.

Though most Americans are familiar with completing a questionnaire about their family health history when visiting health care providers, an independent panel was convened by the National Institutes of Health this week to critically assess exactly what we know and what we need to learn about how this process relates to improving health.

The conference focused on the use of family history in the primary care setting for common diseases such as diabetes, stroke, cancer, and heart disease. The panel has now released their findings in a statement that is available at http://consensus.nih.gov.

Reporting a positive history of a family disease or condition to a health care provider could prompt a range of next steps, from lifestyle changes including diet and exercise to referral to genetic services or other specialists. The panel perceived a need to approach their assessment from a balanced perspective, appreciating the potential for both benefits and harms of obtaining and acting upon family history information. Their statement recognized the longstanding use and intuitive appeal of this relatively simple and noninvasive tool to try to improve health outcomes for at-risk individuals. The collection of a family history may also foster productive relationships between individuals and their clinicians. At the same time, theoretical harms, such as overtreatment and patient anxiety, should be taken into account.

The panel's findings and recommendations were aimed primarily at the research and health professional communities, rather than the public at large, and intended to inform the research agenda rather than influence current clinical practice.

"Given the unprecedented proliferation of genomic information, it is imperative to clarify the role of family history in improving health," said Panel Chair Dr. Alfred O. Berg, a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington, Seattle. "Additionally, increased emphasis on personalized medicine and electronic health records creates a fascinating opportunity to maximize the value of this information responsibly."

The panel recognized that family history has an important role in the practice of medicine and may motivate positive lifestyle changes, enhance individual empowerment, and influence clinical interventions. The panel found that it is unclear how this information can be effectively gathered and used in the primary care setting for common diseases. Additional research is needed to understand how the routine collection of family history will lead to improved health outcomes. To help address these gaps, the panel outlined several research recommendations in three categories: the family health information to be collected, the optimal way to collect and use it, and the outcomes of this tool for diagnosis and engagement with individuals and family members.

Individuals interested in recording their family's health history can visit http://www.hhs.gov/familyhistory, a tool provided by the Office of the Surgeon General.

The panel's complete updated draft state-of-the-science statement will be available later today at http://consensus.nih.gov. The conference was sponsored by the NIH Office of Medical Applications of Research and the National Human Genome Research Institute along with other NIH and Department of Health and Human Services components. This conference was conducted under the NIH Consensus Development Program, which convenes conferences to assess the available scientific evidence and develop objective statements on controversial medical issues.

The 16-member conference panel included experts in the fields of family medicine, population health, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, health economics, epidemiology, biostatistics, genetic counseling, medical genetics, nursing, health informatics, endocrinology, behavioral science, ethics, health services and outcomes research, and a public representative. A complete listing of the panel members and their institutional affiliations is included in the draft conference statement. Additional materials, including panel bios, photos, and other related resources, are available at http://consensus.nih.gov/familyhistorymedia.htm. Interviews with panel members can be arranged by contacting Kelli Marciel at 301-496-4819 or .gov.

In addition to the material presented at the conference by speakers and the comments of conference participants presented during discussion periods, the panel considered pertinent research from the published literature and the results of a systematic review of the literature. The systematic review was prepared through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPC) program, by the McMaster University Evidence-based Practice Center. The EPCs develop evidence reports and technology assessments based on rigorous, comprehensive syntheses and analyses of the scientific literature, emphasizing explicit and detailed documentation of methods, rationale, and assumptions. The evidence report on family history and improving health is available at http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/tp/famhimptp.htm.

The panel's statement is an independent report and is not a policy statement of the NIH or the federal government. The NIH Consensus Development Program was established in 1977 as a mechanism to judge controversial topics in medicine and public health in an unbiased, impartial manner. NIH has conducted 119 consensus development conferences, and 30 state-of-the-science (formerly "technology assessment") conferences, addressing a wide range of issues. A backgrounder on the NIH Consensus Development Program process is available at http://consensus.nih.gov/backgrounder.htm.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institutes of Health, Office of Disease Prevention. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institutes of Health, Office of Disease Prevention. "Panel Assesses Evidence For The Collection And Use Of Family Health History Information." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090827101223.htm>.
NIH/National Institutes of Health, Office of Disease Prevention. (2009, August 27). Panel Assesses Evidence For The Collection And Use Of Family Health History Information. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090827101223.htm
NIH/National Institutes of Health, Office of Disease Prevention. "Panel Assesses Evidence For The Collection And Use Of Family Health History Information." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090827101223.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins