What Is in a Health Assessment?

Reviewed on 8/25/2022

Pregnant women sitting in a waiting room
Your doctor's questions in a health assessment can help a health care team and patient develop a plan of care.

A health assessment is a screening and assessment tool used in primary care practice that involves a set of questions for patients 

Health assessments can vary in length and range and may be asked of patients of all ages. Some may be completed during an office visit or between office visits, on paper or a computer. 

What Questions Does a Doctor Ask in a Health Assessment?

During a health assessment, your doctor will ask you several questions in order to get an understanding of your overall health and decide which tests may need to be performed. These questions may also guide the doctor in prescribing certain treatments, lifestyle modifications, or medications for your medical condition.

Patients may be asked about:

  • Personal behaviors
    • Healthy eating
    • Physical activity
    • Sexual practices
    • Emotional and social support
  • Risks
    • Tobacco use
    • Stress
    • Sedentary behaviors such as sitting and watching TV or playing computer games
    • Alcohol or substance abuse 
    • Addictive behaviors such as gambling or drug use
    • Violence, bullying, or physical abuse
    • Depression or anxiety
    • Personal safety issues such as wearing a seat belt while driving
    • Risk of falls
  • Life-changing events
    • Marriage
    • Children
    • Moving
    • Job changes
  • Health goals and priorities
    • Confidence or ability to manage their own health
  • Overall health or well being

What Is the Purpose of a Health Assessment?

Questions in a health assessment can help a health care team and patient develop a plan of care. 

Benefits of health assessments include: 

  • Improved doctor-patient relationships 
  • Helping healthcare providers identify and prioritize patient health issues and health goals.
  • Helping patients understand their current health status and ways to improve their health
  • Reminding patients to be aware of behaviors and habits that affect their health or chronic conditions
  • Tracking patient behaviors over time, such as physical activity, smoking, stress, or quality of life 
  • Identifying issues that requiring a patient to be referred to additional resources

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Reviewed on 8/25/2022
References
REFERENCES:

Image source: iStock Images

https://www.ahrq.gov/ncepcr/tools/assessments/health-ap10.html

https://www.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/publications/files/health-assessments_0.pdf