Frequency and prioritization of patient health risks from a structured health risk assessment

Siobhan M. Phillips, Russell E. Glasgow, Ghalib Bello, Marcia G. Ory, Beth A. Glenn, Sherri N. Sheinfeld-Gorin, Roy T. Sabo, Suzanne Heurtin-Roberts, Sallie Beth Johnson, Alex H. Krist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


PURPOSE To describe the frequency and patient-reported readiness to change, desire to discuss, and perceived importance of 13 health risk factors in a diverse range of primary care practices.

METHODS Patients (n = 1,707) in 9 primary care practices in the My Own Health Report (MOHR) trial reported general, behavioral, and psychosocial risk factors (body mass index [BMI], health status, diet, physical activity, sleep, drug use, stress, anxiety or worry, and depression). We classified responses as “at risk” or “healthy” for each factor, and patients indicated their readiness to change and/ or desire to discuss identified risk factors with providers. Patients also selected 1 of the factors they were ready to change as most important. We then calculated frequencies within and across these factors and examined variation by patient characteristics and across practices.

RESULTS On average, patients had 5.8 (SD = 2.12; range, 0-13) unhealthy behaviours and mental health risk factors. About 55% of patients had more than 6 risk factors. On average, patients wanted to change 1.2 and discuss 0.7 risks. The most common risks were inadequate fruit/vegetable consumption (84.5%) and overweight/obesity (79.6%). Patients were most ready to change BMI (33.3%) and depression (30.7%), and most wanted to discuss depression (41.9%) and anxiety or worry (35.2%). Overall, patients rated health status as most important.

CONCLUSIONS Implementing routine comprehensive health risk assessments in primary care will likely identify a high number of behavioral and psychosocial health risks. By soliciting patient priorities, providers and patients can better manage counseling and behavior change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-513
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Family Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Health risk appraisal
  • Patient-centered care
  • Primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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