At-risk people include: ethnic/racial minorities; those overdue for preventive services who have uncontrolled risk factors; low self-rated health; those who don’t have a single source of trusted care; or those who live in regions with poor access to primary care providers.
Routine check-ups — not necessarily every year — can lead to better detection and treatment of chronic illnesses such as depression and high blood pressure, an increase in vaccinations and screenings for diseases like cancer, and improvement in how patients actually feel after a visit, according to the study published June 8 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“I was surprised at how many benefits we found when we dug into the data, given the negative messaging around these exams,” said study first author David Liss, research associate professor of medicine (general internal medicine and geriatrics) at Northwestern.
“Especially when it relates to patient-reported outcomes. If you walk away feeling healthy, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Liss added in a Northwestern news release.
“I think a lot of the critics meant to say ‘Don’t do these annual exams for low-risk patients,’ but the message came out to not do these exams at all, which is problematic,” Liss noted.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on physical exams.
SOURCE: Northwestern Medicine, news release, June 8, 2021