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Preventive Services for Adults

Guideline Summary

Scope and Target Population

The scope of this guideline is to provide a comprehensive approach to the provision of evidence-based preventive services including screening maneuvers, immunizations, counseling and education, and to assist in the prioritization of these preventive services.

This guideline is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition – if a health issue or condition is found or suspected, or a screening maneuver is abnormal, other guidelines (such as the Lipid Management in Adults guideline or Hypertension Diagnosis and Treatment guideline) address the details of subsequent evaluation, testing and management.

This guideline targets average risk asymptomatic adults age 18 or older, whose health status and life expectancy are sufficient for them to benefit from these preventive services. In general, this guideline does not apply to pregnant women, individuals with chronic disorders, or high-risk populations; certain exceptions are noted.


  1. Increase the rate of patients up-to-date with Level I preventive services.

Clinical Highlights

  • All clinic contacts – whether acute, chronic or for preventive services – are opportunities for prevention. Incorporate appropriate preventive services at every opportunity.
  • Address or initiate adult preventive services that clinicians and care systems must assess the need for and recommend to each patient. These have the highest priority value.
    - Alcohol abuse; hazardous and harmful drinking screening and brief counseling - Aspirin chemoprophylaxis counseling - Breast cancer screening - Cervical cancer screening - Chlamydia screening - Colorectal cancer screening - Hypertension screening - Influenza immunization - Lipid screening - Pneumococcal immunization - Tobacco use screening and brief intervention
  • Provide timely feedback, appropriate interventions and optimal follow-up.

Additional Background

The guideline was developed using an evidence-based approach, which emphasizes the critical evaluation of scientific evidence. The guideline also identifies those services that should not be included in light of similarly strong evidence.