A baseline medical history (BMH) online survey may be a convenient and effective way for patients with prostate cancer to provide comorbidity information to physicians prior to consultation, according to an article published in Clinical Cancer Informatics.1

Comorbidities are generally entered into a patient’s medical records after multiple interviews, which can lead to reporting errors and can be viewed negatively by patients. The BMH online survey allows patients to enter comorbidity data at home prior to consultation.

For this study, the authors compared “the concordance between patient-reported and practitioner-documented comorbidity by comparing comorbidity documentation before and after implementation of the BMH.” The final cohort included 511 patients, 213 of which completed the BMH survey and 298 of which underwent standard in-clinic medical history documentation. Baseline characteristics were similar between the 2 groups.

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While most patients in both groups had 4 comorbidities, patients in the BMH group were less likely to have no comorbidities reported (2.3%) than those in the standard documentation group (7.7%). Comorbidities reported more frequently in the BMH group included neurological comorbidities (7.5% vs 1.7%, respectively; P = .001) and back pain (24% vs 13%; P = .001). Genitourinary (68% vs 53%; P = .001) and musculoskeletal (8.7% vs 1.9%; P = .001) comorbidities were reported more frequently in the standard documentation group.

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The authors concluded that “[p]atients completing a medical history, at their own pace and in the comfort of their own home, provide relatively accurate and complete information, even before physician review. Patient reporting of comorbidities thus seems to be a reliable starting point for the documentation of the medical history in the clinic.”


  1. Fleshner K, Tin A, Benfante N, Carlsson S, Vickers AJ. Comparison of physician-documented versus patient-reported collection of comorbidities among patients with prostate cancer upon first visit to the urology clinic. Clin Cancer Inform. 2018 Apr 30. doi: 10.1200/CCI.17.00154 [Epub ahead of print]