Functional Disability Screening of Ambulatory Patients

A Randomized Controlled Trial in a Hospital-Based Group Practice

Published in: Journal of General Internal Medicine, v. 9, no. 10, Oct. 1994, p. 590-592

by David Calkins, Lisa V. Rubenstein, Paul Cleary, Allyson Ross Davies, Alan M. Jette, Arlene Fink, Jacqueline Kosecoff, Roy Young, Robert H. Brook, Thomas L. Delbanco

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

The authors conducted a randomized controlled trial of functional disability screening in a hospital-based internal medicine group practice. They assigned 60 physicians and 497 of their patients to either an experimental or a control group. Every four months the patients in both groups completed a self-administered questionnaire measuring physical, psychological, and social function. The experimental group physicians received reports summarizing their patients' responses; the control group physicians received no report. At the end of one year the authors found no significant difference between the patients of the experimental and control group physicians on any measure of functional status. Functional disability screening alone does not improve patient function.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.