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.
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