Medical College of Wisconsin
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At the intersection of precision medicine and population health: an implementation-effectiveness study of family health history based systematic risk assessment in primary care. BMC Health Serv Res 2020 Nov 07;20(1):1015



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Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85095581083   9 Citations


BACKGROUND: Risk assessment is a precision medicine technique that can be used to enhance population health when applied to prevention. Several barriers limit the uptake of risk assessment in health care systems; and little is known about the potential impact that adoption of systematic risk assessment for screening and prevention in the primary care population might have. Here we present results of a first of its kind multi-institutional study of a precision medicine tool for systematic risk assessment.

METHODS: We undertook an implementation-effectiveness trial of systematic risk assessment of primary care patients in 19 primary care clinics at four geographically and culturally diverse healthcare systems. All adult English or Spanish speaking patients were invited to enter personal and family health history data into MeTree, a patient-facing family health history driven risk assessment program, for 27 medical conditions. Risk assessment recommendations followed evidence-based guidelines for identifying and managing those at increased disease risk.

RESULTS: One thousand eight hundred eighty-nine participants completed MeTree, entering information on N = 25,967 individuals. Mean relatives entered = 13.7 (SD 7.9), range 7-74. N = 1443 (76.4%) participants received increased risk recommendations: 597 (31.6%) for monogenic hereditary conditions, 508 (26.9%) for familial-level risk, and 1056 (56.1%) for risk of a common chronic disease. There were 6617 recommendations given across the 1443 participants. In multivariate analysis, only the total number of relatives entered was significantly associated with receiving a recommendation.

CONCLUSIONS: A significant percentage of the general primary care population meet criteria for more intensive risk management. In particular 46% for monogenic hereditary and familial level disease risk. Adopting strategies to facilitate systematic risk assessment in primary care could have a significant impact on populations within the U.S. and even beyond.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: number NCT01956773 , registered 10/8/2013.

Author List

Orlando LA, Wu RR, Myers RA, Neuner J, McCarty C, Haller IV, Harry M, Fulda KG, Dimmock D, Rakhra-Burris T, Buchanan A, Ginsburg GS


Joan Neuner MD, MPH Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Ambulatory Care Facilities
Chronic Disease
Health Surveys
Medical History Taking
Middle Aged
Population Health
Precision Medicine
Primary Health Care
Program Evaluation
Risk Assessment
Risk Management
United States