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Why do doctors need patients to fill out health assessment questionnaires?

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Quick Answer

Doctors use the Stanford health assessment questionnaire to measure the effectiveness of treatments for patients with chronic medical conditions, explains BioMed Central. Although developed to assess treatment outcomes for patients with arthritis, the questionnaire also helps health care professionals collect information on patients with a number of different diseases.

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Full Answer

A doctor asks a patient to complete a health assessment questionnaire to determine the patient's health status, analyze the effectiveness of clinical trials and specify desired outcomes, according to BioMed Central. The patient supplies information about the degree of discomfort and disability he experiences and describes the side effects of any prescribed drugs. Doctors generally use one of two variations of the health assessment questionnaire; the comprehensive format includes supplemental sections that provide demographic, health and lifestyle information, but the more common version is a two-page form containing 20 questions.

The Stanford health assessment questionnaire asks patients to use a scale to rank common activities based on how easy or difficult they are, notes the Stanford Patient Education Research Center. Patients indicate on the first page whether they have difficulty walking, dressing and eating, and whether they need assistance or use devices for simple tasks. The second page asks about activities, hygiene, grip and reaching. Doctors score patient responses, which indicate the patient's degree of disability. The questionnaire assesses the functionality of all major joints in the body.

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