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Pediatrics. 2007 Sep;120 Suppl 2:S60-5.

Family history in pediatric primary care.

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  • 1San Ramon Valley Primary Care Medical Group, 200 Porter Dr, 3rd Floor, San Ramon, CA 94583, USA. ttrotter@silcon.com

Abstract

The family history is a critical element in pediatric medicine and represents the gateway to the molecular age of medicine for both pediatric clinicians and their patients. The pediatric clinician has several opportunities to obtain a family history and multiple clinical and educational uses for that information. Available methods include paper and digital forms, classical pedigrees, online programs, and focused family history at the time of a new diagnosis or problem. Numerous barriers impede the application of family history information to primary pediatric practice. The most common barrier is the limited amount of time the typical primary care encounter allows for its collection. The family history can be used in many facets of pediatric practice: (1) as a diagnostic tool and guide to testing and evaluation; (2) to identify patterns of inheritance; and (3) as a patient-education tool. The most exciting future use of family history is as a tool for public health and preventive medicine. More accurately identifying children at risk for common chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and cardiovascular disease could change the primary care clinician's approach to pediatric medicine.

PMID:
17767006
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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