Implementing Health Assessments in Primary Care: A How-to Guide

January 15, 2014 12:30 PM to 02:00 PM EST
Richard Ricciardi, PhD, NP, FAANP, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); and Douglas Fernald, MA, University of Colorado

Health assessments are used to collect information to help primary care providers evaluate a patient’s health status and risks. The information is used to identify potentially problematic but treatable health behaviors and factors such as anxiety, alcohol use, depression, unhealthy eating, and sedentary lifestyle that patients often don’t bring up during a medical visit.  However, research shows that many patients do not receive an assessment of health risks or a plan to address those risks.  

During this webinar, the presenters will discuss a new evidence-based guide, released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, that was developed for primary care doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants on how to successfully select, adopt and implement health assessments (HA) in primary care settings. The presenters will describe how this new guide, Health Assessments in Primary Care:  A How-to Guide for Clinicians and Staff, may be used to help clinicians decide which health assessments to use, how to integrate them into their daily workflow and how to engage patients. The presenters will also illustrate how this guide may be used to facilitate the effective implementation and use of HA in primary care. This guide is especially useful in the context of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA): the ACA authorizes Medicare coverage of annual wellness visits and specifies that a health risk assessment be included as part of those visits.

The health assessment guide was developed by a team of researchers led by Douglas Fernald, M.A., and David West, Ph.D., in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the Colorado Health Outcomes Program, and the Shared Networks of Collaborative Practices and Partners. The guide was pilot-tested by primary care practices in Colorado, New Jersey, Georgia and Louisiana.  

Critical Reference Materials:

1. Health Assessments in Primary Care: A How-to Guide for Clinicians and Staff

2. Practice Facilitation Handbook: Training Modules for New Facilitators and Their Trainers.

3. Implementing PCMH: Practice Facilitation.  This webpage includes a link to a How-To Guide on Developing and Running a Practice Facilitation Program and case studies of practice facilitation programs.

This Live activity, Implementing Health Assessments in Primary Care: A How-to Guide, with a beginning date of 1/15/2014, has been reviewed and is acceptable for up to 1.25 Elective credit(s) by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  If you have any questions about obtaining CME credit for this webinar, please contact the PBRN Resource Center at

Event Materials:


Last Modified: November 2015