Health risk appraisal for older people in general practice using an expert system: a pilot study

S Iliffe, K Kharicha, D Harari, C Swift, A E Stuck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The prevention of disability in later life is a major challenge facing industrialised societies. Primary care practitioners are well positioned to maintain and promote health in older people, but the British experience of population-wide preventive interventions has been disappointing. Health risk appraisal (HRA), an emergent information-technology-based approach from the USA, has the potential for fulfilling some of the objectives of the National Service Framework for Older People. Information technology and expert systems allow the perspectives of older people on their health and health risk behaviours to be collated, analysed and converted into tailored health promotion advice without adding to the workload of primary care practitioners. The present paper describes a preliminary study of the portability of HRA to British settings. Cultural adaptation and feasibility testing of a comprehensive health risk assessment questionnaire was carried out in a single group practice with 12 500 patients, in which 58% of the registered population aged 65 years and over participated in the study. Eight out of 10 respondents at all ages found the questionnaire easy or very easy to understand and complete, although more than one-third had or would have liked assistance. More than half felt that the length of the questionnaire was about right, and one respondent in 10 disliked some questions. Of those who completed the questionnaire and received tailored, written health promotion advice, 39% provided feedback on this with comments that can be used for increasing the acceptability of tailored advice. These findings have informed a wider exploratory study in general practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21 - 29
Number of pages9
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


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