The Annual Physical: Is There Benefit?
Perhaps the physical exam just needs to be renamed. These visits serve a greater purpose than simply a physical examination. In fact, the examination portion is often the least time-consuming part of the visit. Much of the visit is spent catching up on the patient's health issues over the past year and reviewing health maintenance issues such as what immunizations or screening tests (eg, colonoscopy) may be needed. It is also a time to continue to grow the relationship between provider and patient. Annual physical examinations are rarely “routine” as most people have something they wish to address in addition to those issues on their “problem list.”