Guidelines for community-based screening for chronic health conditions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Preventive measures for many chronic diseases depend upon identification of asymptomatic individuals who have the disease or who may be at risk for developing it. A screening biochemical test can identify such individuals. Mass screening for biochemical markers or risk factors for chronic conditions, especially for elevated serum cholesterol and blood glucose, has been advocated in recent years and has become increasingly common in various nonmedical community settings. Although generally well intentioned, such programs may fall short of their goals and may even be counter productive. In recognition of the use of biochemical screening in nonmedical community settings, and in an attempt to make such efforts as productive as possible, the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) has developed state guidelines for these screening programs. These guidelines make recommendations regarding: (1) the criteria for judging the effectiveness of biochemical screening tests; (2) the qualifications and training of screening program staff; (3) the proper use and maintenance of equipment used in screening programs and other quality control measures; (4) referral procedures for persons with abnormal test results; and (5) the lawful implementation of screening programs. Optimally, as pointed out by these guidelines, all community-based screening programs should complement a larger health education or risk-reduction program that guarantees appropriate medical follow-up and management. Preventive medicine practitioners and organizations embarking on such activities should be familiar with the issues addressed by these guidelines and may find adherence to them useful in developing effective community screening programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-120
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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