The objective of this study was to assess the ability of internists to identify functional disabilities reported by their patients by comparing the responses by physicians and a random sample of their patients to a 12-item questionnaire about physical and social function. It concludes that physicians often underestimate or fail to recognize functional disabilities that are reported by their patients. They overstate functional impairment to a lesser degree. Because these discrepancies may adversely affect patient care and well-being, medical educators and clinicians should pay more attention to the assessment of patient function.
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