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Family medical history has been recognized as an important non-modifiable risk factor for many chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even several types of cancer. However, a number of studies have shown that patients’ recall of their family history is often inaccurate and missing important information such as family members’ age at onset or diagnosis of a disease. Additionally, there is substantial variation regarding how often family physicians are actually obtaining FMH during visits. Patients’ understanding of the importance of obtaining an accurate FMH and even their perception of familial risk of common chronic diseases is also highly variable based on personal experiences and education.

Therefore, to assist physicians in acquiring a more accurate and detailed family medical history from patients it would appear that patients need to be educated on why collecting this information is an important part of understanding of their own health and risk for developing diseases. In addition, patients should be given the opportunity and the tools necessary to gather their family medical history prior to the scheduled visit with their physician, allowing the patient more time to have a conversation about health history with their family members. The purpose of this project was to design and implement an educational handout about the importance of collecting an accurate family medical history in addition to creating a form for patients to record their family medical history.

Clinical Site

Colchester Family Practice


Family Medical History, Accurate, Education, Family Medicine, Disease Prevention

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Medical Education | Primary Care

The Importance of Collecting an Accurate Family Medical History