Family Healthware Impact Trial

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For general questions or completed study information, please contact:

Study Description and Methods

In a randomized controlled trial of AAFP National Research Network physicians, we aimed to find out whether patients who are given health messages based on their risk factors will be motivated to make behavior changes and use preventative health services.

Specific Aims and Objectives

Our specific aims were:

  1. To work with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and two other teams of funded investigators to refine protocols and coordinate data collection for a clinical study of a CDC health risk assessment tool as a means to increase preventive behaviors of adults with increased risk of chronic diseases.
  2. To investigate the effects of the health risk assessment tool, self-administered by patients before their visits with family physicians, on patients' risk perception and preventive health behaviors.


This study was conducted from October 1, 2003, through September 30, 2007.


This study is closed. Please see below for Key Findings and Publications.

Key Findings and Publications

Our initial findings suggest a substantial burden of family-history-based risk in the adult primary care population, particularly for coronary heart disease and stroke. Implementing an online risk assessment tool as a standard part of practice may easily and economically identify subpopulations that would benefit most from targeted prevention strategies.

Access the complete manuscripts:

Family history assessment: Impact on disease risk perceptions.(7 page PDF)Wang C, Sen A, Ruffin MT, et al, for the Family HealthwareTM Impact Trial (FHITr) Group. Am J Prev Med. 2012;43(4):392-398.

Health Benefits Among Individuals at Increased Familial Risk for Type 2 Diabetes: Implications for Prevention: Implications for Prevention.(7 page PDF)
A report from the Family HealthwareTM Impact Trial (FHITr). Dorman JS, Valdez, Liu T, et al. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2012;96(2):156-162.Epub2012 Jan 17.

Improving the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Pragmatic Clinical Trials in Older Adults in the( United States. Saag KG, Mohr PE, Esmail L, et al. Contemp Clin Trials. 2012;33(6):1211-1216. Epub ahead of print July 5, 2012. PMID: 22796098

Using Patient Monetary Incentives and Electronically Derived Patient Lists to Recruit Patients to a Clinical Trial. A report from the Family HealthwareTM Impact Trial (FHITr) Ruffin  MT, Nease DE. J Am Board Fam Med. 2011;24(5):569-574.

Clinical Utility of Family History Screening(10 page PDF) -- Rubinstein WS, O’Neill SM, Acheson LS,et al, for the Family HealthwareTM Impact Trial (FHITr) Group. Clinical Utility of family history for cancer screening and referral in primary care. A report from the Family HealthwareTM Impact Trial (FHITr) Genet Med. 2011;13(11):956-965.PMID: 22075527

Health Behavior Prevention Message(9 page PDF)
-- Ruffin MT, Nease DE, Pace WD, et al, for the Family HealthwareTM Impact Trial (FHITr) Group. Effect of preventive messages tailored to family history on health behaviors: the Family HealthwareTM Impact Trial. Ann Fam Med. 2011;9,3-11. PMID: 21242555

Women's Disease Perceptions for Cancer(11 page PDF) -- Rubinstein WS, O’Neill SM, Rothrock N, et al. Components of family history associated with women’s disease perceptions for cancer: A report from the Family HealthwareTM Impact Trial (FHITr). Genet Med. 2011;13(1):52-62. PMID: 21150785

Family history and perceptions about risk and prevention for chronic diseases in primary care: a report from the Family HealthwareTM Impact Trial.(7 page PDF) -- Acheson LS, Wang C, Zyzanski SJ, et al. Family Healthware Impact Trial (FHITr) Group. Genet Med. 2010;12(4):212-8. PMID: 20216073

Impact Trial Group. Familial Risk for Common Diseases in Primary Care. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.(11 page PDF) O'Neill SM, Rubenstein WS, Wang C, et al, for the Family HealthwareTM 2009; 36(6):506-514.

Comparison of Risk Perceptions and Beliefs Across Common Chronic Diseases(6 page PDF). Wang C, O'Neill SM, Rothrock N, et al, for the Family Healthware™ Impact Trial (FHITr) Group. Prev Med. 2009;48:197–202.

Contact Information

For additional information about this study, please contact:

Elias Brandt, BA, BS
Research Systems Analyst
AAFP National Research Network
(800) 274-2237, ext. 3177

This was funded by grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (ENH-#U50/CCU300860 TS-1216) and the American Association of Medical Colleges (UM#U36/CCU319276 MM-0789 and CWR# U36/CCU319276 MM0630).