The Benefits of an Annual Exam
Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: WELLNESS, 2022

The Benefits of an Annual Exam

Your primary care provider can be an important partner in maintaining and improving your health, especially if you see them regularly. An annual exam, even when you are feeling well, gives your provider important insights and offers significant benefits to you as a patient. Here are the top 10 reasons to book your annual exam.

  1. Seeing you when you are well gives your provider a baseline of what healthy looks like to you. When you are feeling well, you are in a much better position to reveal your personality and what matters most to you.
  2. You can also evaluate what sort of changes you would like to make or goals you would like to set to improve your health even further. Your provider can recommend resources that can help, some of which are located conveniently in the office.
  3. The increased time allotted for annual exams provides crucial minutes to get into your health history and any changes that have occurred over the past year. This information is important in making the best recommendations for the tests or other investigations that will help you limit your risk for serious diseases.
  4. An annual exam is the best time to talk about needed preventive screenings, like mammograms and colonoscopies. These tests save countless lives and hours of time in specialty clinics that would be better spent doing things you enjoy.
  5. Your provider will take a look at what immunizations you need. They may be able to provide the recommended shots in the office on the same day. This saves the time and expense of a debilitating disease, like shingles, or a potentially deadly one, like COVID.
  6. Your provider can review your medication list, learn about any side effects or medication challenges you are having, and make recommendations that could make your medication regimen more manageable for you.
  7. Even during an annual exam, your provider can make referrals to specialists, like a dermatologist for a suspicious mole or a sleep study for unusual sleepiness. Note that, while your annual wellness exam is likely covered entirely by insurance and is no cost to you, multiple concerns discovered during the wellness check may relate to charges that insurances cover at a different rate. These issues are not going to go away on their own. Tackling them as soon as they are discovered will be the least expensive time to do so.
  8. Seeing your provider regularly improves familiarity and increases your chances of coming back to the office when you need help with an illness or injury or with a medical question.
  9. Once you have seen the specialists you need, your primary care provider can help coordinate your care, especially for chronic diseases, like diabetes and asthma, for instance. They work between specialists to get a complete view of your health with the aim to solve problems and help you stay healthy.
  10. Your primary care provider saves healthcare costs. It is always the most cost-effective place to get professional medical care.

Please consider taking a look at the last time you visited your provider and booking an appointment with them, if it has been more than a year.

Norr Hashem, DO, is a family medicine physician at SVMC Pownal Campus, part of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and Southwestern Vermont Health Care in Bennington

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