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Questionnaire Helps Patients Identify Health Priorities

Last Updated: May 12, 2009.

Asking patients if they want help with a specific addiction or mood disorder now or later helps them prioritize their health issues, according to a study published in the May/June issue of the Annals of Family Medicine, while a second study shows that a 15-symptom questionnaire can help identify patients with somatoform disorders.

TUESDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Asking patients if they want help with a specific addiction or mood disorder now or later helps them prioritize their health issues, according to a study published in the May/June issue of the Annals of Family Medicine, while a second study shows that a 15-symptom questionnaire can help identify patients with somatoform disorders.

Felicity Goodyear-Smith, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues conducted a study of 755 primary care patients from varying socioeconomic backgrounds who completed a lifestyle and mental health assessment questionnaire covering areas such as anxiety, depression, smoking, and problem gambling, as well as including a question on whether they would like help now or later. They found that compared with reference standards, the help question increased the specificity of the questionnaire without compromising its sensitivity.

Hiske van Ravesteijn, M.D., of Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands, and colleagues used the 15-symptom Patient Health Questionnaire to assess 906 patients at high risk for somatoform disorders, and found that in patients with three or more severe somatic symptoms during the previous four weeks, the test had 78 percent sensitivity and 71 percent specificity.

"The negative predictive value of the Patient Health Questionnaire-15 (97 percent) offers a considerable advantage in family medicine, where incidences are usually low," van Ravesteijn and colleagues write. "This short questionnaire can be used to exclude the diagnosis of a somatoform disorder in most patients."

Abstract - Goodyear-Smith
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Abstract - van Ravesteijn
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