Why is it important to know my family health history?

When going to your child’s doctor, filling out the health history form can be tiresome.

By Dr. Ayala Wegman




about the doc

Ayala Wegman is a clinical assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.  She has two young boys and deeply enjoys caring for her community at NYU-Langone Global Pediatrics on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where she resides. We are proud to introduce Ayala as our All About The Mom resident pediatrician. You will find her advice in our Ask a Doc section.


Every time I take my kids to a doctor, I just cringe at the health history assessment form. What does my child’s care team actually do with this information?


The health history assessment form, otherwise known as an intake, is important to complete because it recounts essential medical information that you may forget to mention to your doctor at the time of your visit.

These forms may seem tedious, but they really are integral in revealing topical information.

Underlying conditions, previous surgeries, allergies, and medications (even the over-the-counter ones) are all important parts of your child’s health record and are useful for the doctor’s comprehension of your child’s complete history.

The nurse or medical assistant synthesizes this information from the assessment form and prepares it in the chart for the doctor, who can then hone in on critical details and maximize the efficiency of the visit. Family history is also incredibly important. There are certain conditions, such as celiac disease, that place a child at increased risk and may warrant screening for an otherwise healthy child. A family history of diabetes and high cholesterol may also affect the type of counseling that is given during the visit. If asthma and atopy run in the family, this may also guide therapeutics for a child that comes in wheezing. This data is all part of the fabric of your medical record and is scanned into the chart where your provider can readily access it. The team works together to ensure a complete picture is obtained so that your visit can be smooth and efficient!


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