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Should you get your annual physical?

These two companion articles are a point-counterpoint discussion of the value of continuing the practice of annual physicals, or periodic health exams, for adults.  Annual physicals are the most common reason that Americans visit doctors and cost an estimated $10 billion or more each year.  Drs. Mehrotra and Prochazka argue that there is value in a regular “relationship visit” or a “primary care maintenance visit,” but that these need not necessarily be every year.  They go so far as to argue that payers should “no longer reimburse for annual physicals or use receipt of physicals as a measure of health care quality.”  Dr. Goroll argues that the annual physical should be improved by making it of longer duration and more of a team effort – with the screening, data collection, and data recording assigned to non-physician staff.  He agrees that the interval might be longer than a year for low-risk patients.

Sources:

Mehrotra, A., and Prochazka, A. (2015, Oct. 15). Improving value in health care: Against the annual physical. The New England Journal of Medicine, 373(16), 1485-1487. http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMp1507485

Goroll, A.H. (2015, Oct. 15). Toward trusting therapeutic relationships: In favor of the annual physical. The New England Journal of Medicine, 373(16), 1487-1489.  http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMp1508270  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2003, rc@aha.org

 

 

 

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